MANILA - Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion on Wednesday proposed the gradual reopening of shopping malls, public transit, and other select services whether the government will lift or extend the coronavirus-induced enhanced community quarantine.
Speaking to radio DZMM, Concepcion said he made this recommendation to President Rodrigo Duterte to get the Philippine economy up and running.
Shopping malls can resume operations but shoppers should be subject to regulations such as strict enforcement of physical distancing and mandatory wearing of face masks, he said.
"'Yong mga malls baka puwedeng buksan pero dahan-dahan... Hindi naman dadagsa ang tao diyan kasi natatakot din silang lumabas," Concepcion said.
Entrepreneurs can also open their restaurants, but with limited in-store seating, he said.
He also suggested to the President the partial resumption of some modes of mass public transportation at reduced capacity.
"We have to be prepared to coexist with what we have," Concepcion said.
Resumption of economic activities can be done while the public and private sector ramp up mass testing to arrest the spread of COVID-19, he added.
"In the coming days, the President will think through this very well... I'm sure the President will make the right decision," Concepcion said.
The Philippine main island of Luzon, home to more than 50 million people, was placed under an enhanced community quarantine since March 17 to halt the contagion. The lockdown has since been extended to April 30.
To date, the Philippines has recorded 6,710 coronavirus infections, of whom 446 died while 693 recovered.
Globally, COVID-19 has infected more than 2.5 million people and killed nearly 180,000 others since emerging from Wuhan City in Hubei province, China, a running tally from US-based Johns Hopkins University showed.