Business leaders support placing Metro Manila on hard lockdown in August


The business leaders stressed that the imposition of lockdown should be preceded by at least one week of preparation so businesses and households would have ample time to get ready for it. - Bloomberg

MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN): Business leaders on Wednesday (July 28) supported a proposal to impose a two-week hard lockdown in Metro Manila by August in the face of high risks posed by the Covid-19 Delta variant, adding that the “ghost month” is the best time tod do it.

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion backed the suggestion of OCTA Research, which stressed that an early “circuit breaker” lockdown in the nation’s capital region could stop the possible spread of what has been described as the most transmissible variant of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 which causes Covid-19.

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Exporters Confederation of the Philippines Chairman George Barcelon and Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FFCCCII) President Dr Henry Lim Bon Liong likewise agreed to the proposal of the independent pandemic monitor.

However, they stressed that the imposition of lockdown should be preceded by at least one week of preparation so businesses and households would have ample time to get ready for it.

“The suggested one-week [preparation] period, in case this would be announced, we don’t want it to be so sudden that everybody’s caught flat-footed. It’s important that a preparation period be allowed for the business sector,” said Barcelon.

According to the three business leaders, August is a good time to sacrifice two weeks in strict lockdown “to decisively revive and reopen the Philippine economy in the fourth quarter and to ensure 2022 shall be a year of fast, sustainable economic growth.”

Concepcion said August is usually a “weak time” when businesses wind down due to bad weather. August, he added, is also called the ghost month due to an ancient Chinese belief where business deals should be avoided during this time.

He also pointed out that private sector vaccinations are now accelerating with the arrival of GoNegosyo-led Astrazeneca shots for various business groups, as well as Moderna vaccines in the third quarter.

The FFCCCII is also about to complete its ongoing inoculation with 500,000 Sinovac vaccines nationwide.

OCTA research earlier warned that Metro Manila could see over 5,000 average daily new Covid-19 cases as well as overwhelmed hospitals by the end of August if an early and hard lockdown is not imposed.

The Department of Health has so far confirmed a total of 119 cases of the Covid-19 Delta variant, which was first detected in India. - Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network

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