MANILA - The COVID-19 lockdown in Metro Manila should be eased on May 16 as scheduled to restart the economy, an economic adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday, ahead of an expected statement from the chief executive.
The community quarantine should be downgraded to general from enhanced to allow businesses to test the new normal as the last 2 weeks have shown that the infection curve is flattening, said Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion.
The last day of the ECQ or enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and other urban centers is set on May 15 after 2 extensions. It has been in place for nearly 2 months. Duterte is meeting officials on the lockdown later Monday after Metro Manila mayors sought a 15-day extension.
"It's how it should be done...You open the economy and locked down communities with infections...We have to take a bit of risk, we have been quite conservative," Concepcion told ANC.
"Let’s try something different. Lets try to move to GCQ by locking down barangay with high levels. Let’s try it for 2 weeks," he added.
Opening the economy while a vaccine is being developed and while the government is continuously working on ramping up its testing capability, will help preserve jobs and save small firms from bankruptcy, Concepcion said.
The lockdown, alongside the Taal Volcano eruption in January caused the economy to shrink by 0.2 percent in the first quarter, the first contraction since 1998.