THE only way to balance health and economy amid the global health crisis is through the immunization program.
The back and forth lockdown and reopening of economic activities, and staying in the middle of lives and livelihood is “extremely difficult” for Filipinos, according to a government executive.
“Wearing face masks and face shields is very important to maintain and contain the infection level, but it’s not really the solution to our economic problem today,” said Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion.
Concepcion said the health problem can only be solved by the vaccines that are arriving in the country, helping Filipinos to get protection from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“As we manage the health situation through the deployment of the vaccine, then we can see us being able to at least keep the economy open and running. The only way we can only balance much better lives and livelihood is through the vaccine,” he added.
However, Concepcion admitted that the challenge for the government is convincing the people to get vaccinated.
“For us to be able to win this war, we really have to get our citizens vaccinated and hopefully all of them will want to be vaccinated, regardless of whatever brand, it’s better to have protection than no protection,” he added.
Concepcion said vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. told him that the vaccine donation of the private sector could be directed to a particular sector.
He added the private sector has formalized the request to the government to focus half of the vaccine donation to Metro Manila, particularly for micro and small entrepreneurs who are not capable of buying their own vaccines.
“So moving forward, I believe that we still have the chance in really bringing back the economic momentum in full upswing, and I believe the fourth quarter is the quarter that we can really push,” Concepcion said.
He cited consumer spending during the Christmas season, the start of election spending, and the impact of the inoculation program with the arrival of the bulk of the COVID-19 vaccines in the second half of the year.
Meanwhile, a more intensified implementation of the prevent, detect, isolate, treat, and reintegrate or strategy is the key for the enhanced community quarantine to be more effective in reducing coronavirus disease 2019 cases.
“The latest data shows that we are at a critical juncture. Our collective actions today will spell the difference between containment and further spread of the virus. 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. This will help reduce the spike in COVID-19 cases given the new variants,” acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua.
Chua said the PDITR strategy worked between August 2020 and February 2021 when the country reduced cases to below 2,000 per day, which allowed for the gradual opening of the economy.
However, with the new variants, the implementation of the PDITR strategy needs to be further intensified, he said.
Last April 3, 2021, 12,576 new cases were recorded with a positivity rate of 21.1 percent. The standard positivity rate is less than five percent according to the World Health Organization.
On the same day, the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases recommended the one-week extension of the ECQ in the National Capital Region (NCR), Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal (collectively known as NCR Plus), making it a total of two weeks from March 29 to April 11, 2021.
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