The government will embark on the second phase of the national action plan, including zoning containment strategy and expanded testing and contact tracing efforts, to curb the coronavirus outbreak and stimulate economic activity.
The eight-point blueprint for the coronavirus response was approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) during a meeting Thursday amid the gradual easing of the lockdown measures around the country.
According to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, it is important to reopen the economy and restore jobs for the people while sustaining efforts to stem the spread of the disease.
“The new phase or phase 2 that we will enter means we can control the spread of COVID if we will follow health protocols, if we step up testing, if we continue granular and local testing. But at the same time, we must really open the economy because we need to have livelihood again,” Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said during Laging Handa public briefing Friday.
“After more than 100 days, we already know that we must really reopen the economy. Many will go hungry if we won’t open up the economy,” he said.
Under the second phase of the national action plan, the government aims to promote “a change in people’s mindset with strong focus on health and disease prevention” as well as “strategically balance health and economic objectives.”
The “Prevent-Detect-IsolateTreat-Reintegrate Strategy and Zoning Containment Strategy” will also be institutionalized to curb coronavirus outbreaks.
The program will be supervised by concerned Cabinet members.
The government also intends to sustain private and public partnerships, enhance risk communication and community engagements particularly on the observance of health protocols, and highlight contingency, business continuity and sustainability plans.
It will also try to manage the movement of returning overseas Filipinos, local stranded individuals and local travelers. The government will also concentrate on efforts on expanded and targeted testing and contact tracing by gradually allowing travel, tourism and non-disruption of work.
“Although it is important to protect ourselves from COVID-19, we have proven there are ways to fight COVID19, including wearing of face masks, social distancing, and washing of hands. We will also implement granular lockdowns,” Roque said.
“It includes scaling up testing, tracing, isolation, and treatment,” he added.
The government has started to gradually relax the quarantine restrictions around the country in a bid to jumpstart the economy.
Cebu City is the only place under the Enhanced Community Quarantine, the most stringent form of lockdown, until mid-July due to soaring cases of infections.
Other parts of the country are either in general community quarantine (GCQ) and Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).
The local economy shrank by 0.2 percent in the first quarter of the year as the strict lockdown measures imposed in March led to closure of shops and job losses.
The President’s economic team has recently made several recommendations, including easing of quarantine measures particularly in Metro Manila and Calabarzon, to facilitate economic recovery.