Lockdown lifting rests on health before business: trade chief

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 03 2020 09:02 AM | Updated as of Apr 03 2020 09:15 AM

People walk past a grim reaper costume set-up in Quezon City to encourage people to do their part on defeating the coronavirus pandemic by staying indoors. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA -- The Philippines will consider health before business in deciding when to lift lockdown on half of its 100 million people to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, an economic manager said Friday.

President Rodrigo Duterte's inter-agency coronavirus task force will "balance" health concerns with the need to restart businesses and resume work for people in Luzon, Trade Sec. Ramon Lopez said.

"The major basis of the lifting is health-related, not business-related," Lopez told DZMM. The task force will assess if numbers have improved, he said.

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Luzon is on the third week of lockdown, which is scheduled to end on April 12. As of Thursday, the Philippines confirmed 2,633 cases including 107 deaths and 51 recoveries.

Globally, infections hit the 1 million mark according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University in the US. Some 48,300 died, according to Reuters.

Lopez said a ''new normal" would take hold at the end of the lockdown, wherein people will observe physical distancing and wear protective gear to avoid spreading disease.