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According to DTI Chief, the economy cannot withstand another major lockdown

Ramon Lopez, Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), has expressed gratitude to President Rodrigo Duterte for approving the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to place Metro Manila and nearby provinces under general community quarantine (GCQ) with stricter restrictions.

“Another major shutdown will be too much for the economy to endure. We lose about PHP30 billion during the course of a two-week shutdown. Many people have lost their jobs and livelihoods, and the majority of them are micro (and) SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises),” Lopez said at a Laging Handa public briefing on Thursday.

In line with discussions with reputable health experts, he said that the proposal to place the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus under GCQ with increased limitations is in agreement with the IATF’s recommendations.

“We truly believe in striking a balance and taking a comprehensive approach,” he said.

Lopez emphasized that the IATF imposes limitations in the face of the danger of the highly contagious Covid-19 Delta version spreading across the world.

However, the limitations will be targeted on ‘super spreader’ actions such as large gatherings, while lockdowns would continue to be implemented using a granular lockdown method, according to the DTI head.

His other demand was for companies to form their own health and safety committees, which would be responsible for ensuring that the bare minimum of public health procedures is monitored and maintained in their individual facilities.

He went on to say that ensuring that facilities have enough ventilation would also assist to reduce the danger of acquiring the virus.

Lopez also stressed the need of speeding up vaccination operations throughout the country in order to protect Filipinos from the Delta strain, which is now on the rise.

“What is important is that we enable the economy to reopen in a safe and carefully measured manner, but that we impose additional limitations on non-essential activities and large gatherings, and that there be no ‘super spreader’ activities,” he told reporters in a text message given to reporters.

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