Delta variant? DTI says economy cannot afford another massive lockdown
MANILA, Philippines — The country’s economy can no longer bear another massive lockdown, especially over the nation’s capital region, even if it was for only two weeks, because millions of pesos are expected to be wasted should it happen, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said Thursday.
“Bawat lockdown, kaya hindi natin makakayanan uli ito, nawawala ang estimated million pesos na mga wages for a two-week lockdown like ‘yung nangyari na ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) last March, pati mga negosyo, micro-small businesses, nagsara,” he said in a televised public briefing.
(We can no longer bear another lockdown because we lose millions of pesos in wages, like in the ECQ we implemented last March where businesses were forced to close.)
This was why, he said, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases recommended that Metro Manila be retained under general community quarantine (GCQ) “with heightened restrictions” from Aug. 1 to Aug. 15.
Lopez also said COVID-19 cases in the capital region are still “manageable” and the reported COVID-19 Delta variant cases are still “controlled” and are being “closely watched.”
“We have to take a balanced, holistic assessment dito,” he said.
Areas experiencing a surge of cases could impose granular lockdowns so that the rest of the metropolis can “keep its economy going” and “save jobs and livelihood.”
Restrictions under GCQ would be focused on enforcing minimum public health protocols, prohibiting mass gatherings and superspreader activities while still allowing the economy to keep going, Lopez pointed out.
President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the IATF’s recommendation to still place Metro Manila under GCQ with heightened restrictions, along with Bulacan, Laguna, Rizal, and Cavite, from Aug. 1 to Aug. 15.
Metro Manila mayors have expressed willingness to impose an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) for two weeks amid the threat of the Delta variant, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Benhur Abalos earlier said.
Business leaders likewise supported a proposal to impose a two-week hard lockdown in Metro Manila by August, adding that the “ghost month” is the best time to do it.
Experts from Octa Research suggested that the government impose “anticipatory, preventive and circuit-breaking lockdowns” to stem the imminent spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.