Depending on the rollout of a vaccine, current coronavirus quarantines will likely be lifted fully in 2022, one of President Rodrigo Duterte's economic managers said, as the team recalibrated targets for the next two years.
With a vaccine expected to be available locally by 2021, areas under GCQ, the second lowest quarantine, can be downgraded one notch to MGCQ, said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua.
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The MGCQ next year could also be "more relaxed" compared to this year, he told reporters after a meeting of the Development Budget Coordinating Committee.
"Because of the news that a vaccine will be available this year and widely available towards the end of next year, we will likely see a lifting of all quarantines fully in 2022," he said.
After shrinking for most of 2020, the economy could return to its growth path, up to 6.5% to 7.5% in 2021 and 8% to 10% in 2022, Chua said. These assumptions are based on a "relaxed" MGCQ by next year.
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The government spent P924 billion on infrastructure this year, equivalent to 4.5% of gross domestic product and a "respectable" amount given the virus restrictions, Chua said. This will be raised to P1.17 trillion or 5.9% of GDP in 2021, he said.
"When the vaccine is available, we will see further normalization back to 2019 GDP level," he said. "Clearly we cannot go back to normal life without a vaccine."
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