CORONAVIRUS infections in the Philippines may hit 12,000 once a Luzon-wide lockdown is lifted on April 30, assuming the capacity of the country’s health system will have improved by then, according to an academic expert.

Cases will have reached two million by June without the so-called enhanced community quarantine, Ateneo de Manila University professor Ma. Regina Justina E. Estuar told a news briefing on Tuesday.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte locked down the entire Luzon island on March 17 until mid-April, which cut confirmed cases by half a million and slowed the peak, she said. The President later extended the home quarantine by two more weeks until April 30.

“Cases went down because the capacity of our health system went up after people’s movements were limited under the enhanced community quarantine,” Ms. Estuar said in Filipino.

Ms. Estuar, project leader of a tool funded by the Department of Science and Technology in projecting cases for epidemic or pandemic such as dengue, typhoid fever and measles, said the government must expand its testing capacity.

It can do so by buying more COVID-19 test kits, setting up more test centers and training more health workers, she said. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas