Duque: Going back to stricter lockdown will ‘damage PH economy beyond repair’
MANILA, Philippines — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III believes the Philippines can no longer afford to revert to stricter coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown measures as it will damage the country’s economy “beyond repair.”
“We could no longer afford to a higher quarantine status of MECQ (Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine) or ECQ (Enhanced Community Quarantine) because that will irreversibly injure, if not damage, the economy beyond repair,” Duque said on the launch of the “Mask Para Sa Masa” campaign in Quezon City on Saturday.
“Ayaw na po natin mangyari ‘yan (We don’t want that to happen),” Duque added.
The “Mask Para Sa Masa” campaign aims to provide poor and vulnerable families with free face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
It was on Aug. 4 to 18 that Metro Manila, Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite and Rizal returned to MECQ status after medical frontliners urged the government for a two-week “timeout” period, which also allowed the government to “recalibrate” its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Asked if an extension of the MECQ in Metro Manila and in nearby provinces was possible, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said that Malacañang is not keen about the idea as the economy could not bear another lockdown.
Currently, Metro Manila is under general community quarantine (GCQ) until Aug. 31.
The Philippine economy nosedived into a recession during the second quarter of 2020, as it contracted by 16.5 percent.
As of Saturday, the Philippines has 213,131 COVID-19 cases, with 135,101 recoveries and 3,419 deaths.
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