MANILA - The Philippines needs to make “bold moves” to check the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19, and salvage the “make or break” fourth-quarter economic results, a presidential adviser said in a statement on Sunday.
Go Negosyo founder and Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said this means looking at lessening the mobility of unvaccinated people--including restricting them from entering certain establishments, eating out, or moving around the country.
The government could also consider exerting more pressure on those who refuse to get vaccinated, he said. Individuals, meanwhile, can also be incentivized by making it easier for them to travel by doing away with mandatory tests since they have become fully protected against COVID-19, he said.
Concepcion also said incentives can be given to businesses that will aim for full vaccination of their employees, such as increased operational capacity so they can recover lost revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The palace business adviser said he made these recommendations during a meeting with the IATF, the government body tasked with making and implementing policies to check the spread of COVID-19.
“If the coming fourth quarter will be a disaster because of the Delta variant, then the entire 2022 will face a severe challenge,” Concepcion said.
He noted that the fourth quarter is typically the strongest quarter for the private sector, and added that the country could not afford another setback to its economy.
Concepcion said he hopes President Rodrigo Duterte and the Interagency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases will consider his proposals.
On Sunday, health officials announced they detected 55 additional cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant, bringing the case load for the highly transmissible variant to 119.
The variant, first detected in India, is seen as responsible for the collapse of the healthcare system in the densely-populated nation, along with the uptick in cases in other Asian countries such as Indonesia and Thailand.
The pandemic has already caused the Philippines to plunge into its worst economic contraction since World War 2, losing over P2 trillion in value in the 15 months since the virus started affecting the country.