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Business rejects 5-week lockdown

/ 05:30 AM August 14, 2021

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) objected to a suggestion of the Department of Health (DOH) to impose a five-week lockdown in a bid to drastically reduce the number of active COVID-19 cases.

Edgardo Lacson, acting president of PCCI, said in a statement on Friday that lockdowns were not the only way to reduce infections and the government should ramp up vaccinations and continue implementing health protocols.

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“Mere mention of lockdown stokes greater fear than the infection from COVID-19. Another five-week lockdown could be the proverbial last straw on the camel’s back. It will wipe out the temporary economic gains we earned in between lockdowns and could stop the momentum of business from moving forward,” he said.

“[The] COVID-19 pandemic is a pharmaceutical problem while lockdown is a militaristic solution. Our economy is disfigured after many protracted lockdowns, yet the spread of COVID-19 continues,” Lacson said.

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Lacson had been urging businessmen to heighten their ongoing efforts to inoculate their employees.

“The vaccination deployment will lead to the reopening of more businesses and the relaxation of age group restrictions. This will redound to added economic activities and save more jobs to provide income for our people,” Lacson said on Thursday during an online meeting of the North Luzon Area Business Conference.

He underscored the need for the private sector to help the national and local government in mitigating the impacts of pandemic by instituting programs that have immediate impact on rebuilding industries in the near term, and also looking at the prospects and strategies for the medium and long term.

Lacson made the remarks after Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online briefing on Aug. 7 that active cases could go down to around 15,000 by the end of September with a harsher quarantine regime.

Vergiere said the DOH applied various scenarios to project the number of active cases and the one with a one-week general community quarantine with heightened restrictions followed by a five-week enhanced community quarantine showed the lowest figure.

Other quarantine scenarios with more lenient measures suggested that active cases could reach as much as 58,000.

When asked on Viber if the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Diseases had already decided on a five-week lockdown, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said it was fake news. “Haha, No. Fake news Ingat sa socmed,” he said.

“Those scenarios were presented, but that doesn’t mean there’s [going to be another] lockdown. There are balanced parameters being considered. And economic and security angles are also always considered together with health stats [statistics],” Lopez said.

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TAGS: DOH, Health, lockdown, Vergeire
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