Easing lockdowns not meant to test Filipinos' health, says official

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 01 2020 07:25 PM

Commuters wait for a ride along Commonwealth Ave in Quezon City at 6:30 a.m., June 1,2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA- The government is still working to control the spread of COVID-19 despite the easing of lockdowns across the country, the chief implementer of the country's pandemic response said Monday.
 
The scaling back of community quarantine measures is not meant to test Filipinos' health defense against COVID-19 but will simply provide a "breathing space" for economic activity, National Task Force against COVID-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said.

Some netizens have criticized the easing of restrictions despite evidence that the Philippines has yet to see a downward trend in COVID-19 cases.

"Hindi naman siguro tama iyong matira-matibay dahil kasi talagang tinitingnan namin," he said in a Palace press briefing.

(It's not right to say that only the fittest will survive because we are checking the situation.)

"At the same time iyong pag-open ng GCQ will also put some breathing space na magkaroon talaga ng economic activity considering that more than millions of our workers are being affected by the lockdown," he added, referring to the transition to general community quarantine of some areas.

(The easing to GCQ will put some breathing space for economic activity considering that millions of our workers were affected by the lockdown.)

On Monday, Metro Manila, Pangasinan province, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Central Visayas, Davao City, and Zamboanga City transitioned to a GCQ as the government sought to revive economic activity.

The rest of the country meanwhile, shifted to a modified GCQ, the transition point to the "new normal" where community quarantine protocols would be fully lifted.

Despite the easing of restrictions, Galvez said Filipinos must continue to exercise precaution in their activities outside of their homes. He cited as example the low number of individuals visiting malls.

"Alam ninyo 20 percent pa lang ang pumupunta na tao dahil kasi malaki rin ang takot ng mga tao, and then nakakaawa nga iyong ating mga business sector kasi talagang walang pumapasok sa kanilang mga stalls," Galvez said.

(Only 20 percent visited malls because people are scared. Our businesses are pitiful because no one is visiting their stalls.)

"So iyong second wave po, talagang we are protecting our people na hindi po tayo magkaroon ng second wave," he added.

(We are really protecting the people from a second wave of infections.)

As of Sunday, confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines have reached 18,086. This includes 957 deaths and 3,909 recoveries.