Economist suggests ‘selective quarantine’ in barangays after lockdown ends


Posted at Apr 18 2020 11:26 PM

MANILA--An economist on Saturday suggested placing some barangays in "selective quarantine" should the lockdown in Luzon be lifted on April 30.

“Let us not penalize the barangays that are infection-free and have followed the President’s orders to stay home for 6 weeks,” Joey Concepcion, presidential adviser for entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo Founder, said in a statement.

However, barangays that still have an "overwhelming" number of COVID-19 cases should remain in quarantine.

“This all serves as an incentive for the mayors, barangay captains, and the residents to keep their barangays safe, with no new cases,” Concepcion said.

He explained that, in a selective quarantine, the mayor and the barangay chairpersons are authorized to implement an extended lockdown if an area remains stricken with the virus, especially if the rate of infection there is high.

Concepcion said determining guidelines for declaring a quarantine will be provided by the Philippine inter-agency task force focused on coronavirus response.

“When we say barangay quarantine, you don’t start by locking down a certain city, you start by considering quarantines for barangays that have high infection rates,” he said.

The barangay quarantines, Concepcion added, aim to help to identify the most vulnerable communities, and redirect resources and services to help stop the spread of the disease.

Concepcion said that depending on the number and location of the confirmed cases per area, the barangay quarantine can be expanded to become a city or town lockdown, "and even a provincial quarantine, should a wider scale lockdown be necessary."

He said that if the barangay quarantine is implemented successfully, public confidence will be reinstated and the country's economy will revive.

"With proper testing and containment of the virus at the barangay levels, key industries can resume operations and the essential workforce can return safely to work," he said.

"The barangay quarantine is the most sustainable approach to containing the virus, and can be used continuously until a cure is found."

Luzon, home to half of the country's 100 million people, was locked down on March 17, a state of quarantine initially scheduled until April 12.

As of Saturday, the Philippines has recorded 6,087 COVID-19 cases with 397 deaths and 516 recoveries, the health department said.