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Extending ECQ will exacerbate the health and economic crises, according to PCCI

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) was quick to voice its objection to lengthier lockdowns when the Department of Health (DOH) issued various predictions on coronavirus infections, including a five-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

PCCI interim president Edgardo Lacson warned in a statement Friday that extending the ECQ may worsen the health and economic crises.

Lockdown isn’t the only way to stop the spread of coronavirus illness, according to Lacson (Covid-19).

“While the Covid-19 epidemic is a pharmaceutical issue, lockdown is a military response. Despite the fact that our economy has been shattered by many long-term lockdowns, the proliferation of Covid continues,” he said.

Earlier, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire outlined the agency’s estimates for Covid-19 cases in Metro Manila, based on various degrees and durations of community quarantine measures.

The most severe step is the extension of the Metro Manila ECQ to five weeks.

Metro Manila has been put under ECQ from August 6 to 20 due to the danger of the Delta variant.

“The very idea of lockdown instills more dread than the Covid-19 virus. Another five-week lockdown may be the last straw for the government. It will wipe away the brief economic advantages we made in between lockdowns and may halt the pace of business,” Lacson said.

According to the acting PCCI head, a more sensible approach would be to increase vaccination coverage in order to safeguard the people and to continue enforcing public health regulations.

These estimates, including the five-week ECQ, were given to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, according to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez in a text message to media (IATF).

“Those are people we are familiar with. Those possibilities were given, but that does not imply that a lockdown is in effect. There are several well-balanced factors to examine. And economic and security considerations are constantly taken into account in conjunction with health (statistics),” Lopez added.

If the number of Covid-19 cases drops next week, he says Metro Manila should switch to modified ECQ and granular lockdowns.

“(We’re) keeping a careful eye on the data as long as there’s no danger of an uncontrolled Delta surge,” he added.

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