MANILA, Philippines—The state planning company National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) on Monday (April 5) mentioned the prolonged lockdown in Metro Manila and 4 provinces would forestall over 215,000 new COVID-19 cases but render at the very least 350,000 Filipinos jobless or poorer because of enhanced group quarantine (ECQ), probably the most stringent type of group quarantine.
In a press release on Monday evening, performing Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and Neda chief Karl Kendrick Chua urged a “more intensified implementation of the prevent, detect, isolate, treat, and recover (PDITR) strategy” because the lockdown in areas accounting for half of the financial system would take its toll on livelihoods whereas the nation struggled with new and faster-spreading COVID-19 variants.
“The latest data show that we are at a critical juncture,” mentioned Chua.
“Our collective actions today will spell the difference between containment and further spread of the virus,” he mentioned.
“ECQ alone does not reduce the spike in the COVID-19 cases. The solution is to further enhance our implementation of the PDITR strategy with clear targets to achieve,” Chua added.
“This will help reduce the spike in COVID-19 cases given the new variants,” Chua mentioned, referring to the two-week ECQ in the so-called “National Capital Region (NCR) Plus,” which included the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal.
ECQ was imposed in NCR Plus beginning on March 29 initially solely throughout Holy Week, but had been extended till April 11 as day by day cases soared to as many as tens of 1000’s day by day.
“The PDITR strategy worked between August 2020 and February 2021 when the country was able to reduce cases to below 2,000 per day, which allowed for the gradual opening of the economy,” Chua mentioned.
“However, with the new variants, the implementation of the PDITR strategy needs to be further intensified,” Chua mentioned.
“It is crucial for all of us to take advantage of this period to increase the effectiveness of the ECQ by further enhancing the implementation of the PDITR strategy,” Chua added.
“Containing the virus starts from one’s self. By washing hands frequently, wearing masks even at home, staying at home during ECQ and practicing social distancing when outside to buy essential goods, we can all help contain the virus,” Chua mentioned.
The ECQ would assist scale back coronavirus infections. Chua mentioned the one-week extension was anticipated to avert 215,320 cases, together with 6,460 which could possibly be important and extreme, About 4,026 deaths would even be prevented by the continued return to tighter quarantine, he mentioned.
“Moreover, in using this time to significantly upgrade the country’s health systems capacity, where testing and isolation are intensified, the benefits would be even greater at additional 323,262 COVID-19 cases that may be averted, of which 9,698 are severe and critical, while preventing 6,045 deaths from COVID-19,” he added.
On the flip aspect, Chua mentioned Neda estimates confirmed the entire of two-weeks ECQ in NCR Plus would go away about 252,000 Filipinos jobless whereas 102,000 may turn into poor.
“The more stringent quarantine in NCR Plus translates to a daily household income loss of P2.1 billion or almost P30 billion for the two-week period. All in all, the two-week ECQ may shave off 0.8 percentage point from the country’s full-year economic growth in 2021,” Chua mentioned.
Economic managers focused gross home product (GDP) progress of a conservative 6.5-7.5 % in 2021 following 2020’s worst post-war recession when the financial system contracted by a report 9.5 %.
Several multilateral establishments, like World Bank and the Asean+3 Macroeconomic and Research Office (Amro), already slashed their 2021 progress forecasts for the Philippines and anticipated the nation to be a laggard in the area in reverting to pre-pandemic GDP ranges.
These establishments had urged the Philippines to ramp up COVID-19 containment, mass vaccination, in addition to fiscal assist to weak sectors in order to maintain the financial system afloat.
In a working paper launched final week, the Washington-based Center for Global Development (CGD) mentioned that in the Philippines, “it is evident that imposing a lockdown brings along a heavy societal cost that is entangled with immediate and long-term health outcomes.”
“Discussions on imposing lockdown have often been weighed by the trade-offs between the public health (anchoring on COVID-19 cases and death) and economic dimension,” mentioned CGD in a paper authored by Diana Beatriz Bayani and Soon Guan Tan of the National University of Singapore.
“However, this trade-off should not be viewed as a dichotomous one,” mentioned the papr, entitled “Health Systems Impact of COVID-19 in the Philippines.”
“Community quarantine measures should not be seen as an intervention that imposes a set of restrictions inflexibly,” the paper mentioned.
“There should be responsive surveillance systems in place to monitor the effects and provide timely feedback to policy makers,” it mentioned.
“Clearly, flattening the epidemic curve goes hand in hand with social protection measures and other policies directly responding to the needs of the population,” the paper added.
Chua agreed that lockdowns weren’t a whole answer to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“ECQ alone does not reduce cases. It simply buys time,” Chua mentioned.
“Thus, we need to further intensify testing, tracing, quarantine, isolation, treatment, and vaccination,” he mentioned.
“Enforcing minimum health protocols and monitoring compliance, building more isolation facilities, accelerating vaccine deployment to the vulnerable sectors, and implementing the additional social amelioration program are all needed,” Chua mentioned.
The Neda chief additionally urged an “unhampered transition to the digital economy and the new normal, both for government agencies and businesses.”
This, he mentioned, would “limit physical interactions, as well as enable continued operations and delivery of goods and services.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get entry to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & different 70+ titles, share as much as 5 devices, hearken to the information, obtain as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.