The Department of Trade and Industry said Tuesday it was against a return to a large-scale lockdown since it would kill the economy. It is also recommending the reopening of more businesses, including internet cafes and drive-in cinemas, subject to strict health protocols.
Current quarantine classifications will expire on July 31 and Metro Manila was given until that time to halt infections or risk a return to stricter quarantines. It is currently under GCQ or general community quarantine. "Hindi po (No)," Trade Sec. Ramon Lopez said, when asked if he would recommend a rollback to la ockdown for the capital.
Confirmed infections are rising because more people are getting tested, Lopez said. Lockdowns should instead be localized in virus hotspots, he said. "Hindi po kailangang isara ang buong city o lugar, kasi mamamatay ang ekonomiya pag pinagpatuloy natin ulit (We don't need to close off an entire city or place because the economy will die if we go back to that)."
Only last week, restaurants were allowed to operate until 11 p.m. and sell alcoholic drinks up to two servings per customer. After four months under quarantine, "two bottles" returned.
"May paraan na tayo ngayon na community at surgical ang ating pag-lockdown (We now have ways to make lockdowns community-based and surgical)," he said. Manila, Pasig and Navotas have implemented granuar lockdowns.
"Ang mindset ngayon, maibalik ng unti-unti ang pagbukas ng ekonomiya at todo pagiingat tayo talaga, strict implementation of protocols (The mindset is to slowly reopen the economy very carefully, strict implementation of protocols)," he said.
Lopez said he would recommend to the Inter-Agency Task Force the reopening of the following: internet cafes for education, tutorial and review centers, pet grooming and drive-in cinemas.
COVID-19 cases in the Philippines crossed the 80,000-mark over the weekend. In his State of the Nation Address on Monday, Duterte sought the passage of Bayanihan 2, the country's second pandemic response law. He also said he sought access to a Chinese-made vaccine from China's leader, Xi Jinping.