Head of employers group warns against ‘overreacting’ to surge of COVID-19 cases

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 16 2021 11:12 PM

Head of employers group warns against ‘overreacting’ to surge of COVID-19 cases 1
Commuters do their morning routine while lined up to board a ride at a jeepney station in Quezon City on March 05, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The president of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines warned against overreacting to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines.

ECOP president Sergio Ortiz Luis Jr. reiterated that companies cannot afford another lockdown as the economy reels from the year-long COVID-19.

He also said a majority of jobs in the country cannot be done at home, and even those working from home are not as productive.

"There are just jobs that can be work from home, but majority of the jobs, hindi puwede," Ortiz Luis said told Teleradyo Tuesday.

"By this time, 'yung puwedeng ganoon, nagagawa na. So kapag dinagdagan mo pa 'yun, hindi na feasible," he added.

Health workers earlier urged employers to decongest or limit the number of employees in workplaces to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

Ortiz Luis also said people should not overreact to the rising COVID-19 cases, since the death rate remains low.

"Dumadami ba ang namamatay o hindi? Dumadami ba ang namamatay o dumadami lang ang nagpo-positive? Hindi naman dumadami ang namamatay, bakit itinataya nating lahat ang kinabukasan natin dito?" he said.

(Is the death rate rising or not? Are there more people dying, or it is just those who test positive? The number of deaths is not increasing, so why are we putting our future on the line?)

"Hindi ko sinasabing hindi tayo mag-iingat. Mag-ingat tayo. Gawin natin ang kailangan nating gawin. Pero huwag tayong mag-overreact, because maraming ibang konsiderasyon. Maraming ibang ikamamatay ang tao aside from COVID. Maraming nagugutom, namamalimos pa nga hanggang ngayon ang iba nating mga kababayan," Ortiz Luis also said.

(I am not saying we should not be careful. We should be careful. We should do what we needs to be done. But we should not overreact, because there are a lot of considerations. People can die of reasons other than COVID. There are a lot who are hungry, some are still begging until now.)

Ortiz Luis, likewise, said the country has achieved a lot since the start of the pandemic a year ago, and people now have the means to protect themselves.

"Marami na tayong equipment, marami na tayong ginagamit, marami na tayong gamot. Malaki na ang ini-asenso natin," he said.

(We have a lot of equipment now, we have a lot of medicines and other things. We have improved a lot.)

He also reacted to projections by experts that daily cases may reach 11,000 by the end of March if the current trend continues.

For Ortiz Luis, the country is in a better position now, and these numbers only foment fear.

"So hindi ko alam kung ano ang expertise nila. Nakakagulo lang sila, nakaka-panic ng tao," he said.

(I don't know what their expertise is. They just cause confusion, people panic [because of what they say].)

"Dumami man 'yang cases na 'yan, we're in a much better position noong time na mataas 'yan," Ortiz Luis added.

(Even if we have more cases now, we're in a much better position than during the peak of infections.)

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New cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines can reach up to 11,000 daily if the current trend continues, a member of the OCTA Research Group said Tuesday.

The team earlier projected daily cases going up to 8,000, but the reproduction rate or the number of people infected by a virus patient has now risen to 2.03, according to OCTA Research fellow Guido David. 

As of Tuesday, COVID-19 in the Philippines has so far sickened 631,320 people. The tally includes 12,848 deaths, 560,736 recoveries, and 57,736 active cases.

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