Hard lockdown vs Delta threat still off the table — Palace

Published July 27, 2021, 4:37 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The government has yet to consider reimposing a “hard lockdown” in response to the rising cases of Delta coronavirus variant in the country.

Manila residents line up to get a second dose of coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination site located inside a shopping mall on July 13, 2021. (Malacañang)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque however said the government would closely look into the country’s coronavirus situation to determine if there would be a need to escalate the community quarantine levels in some areas in the country. Inputs from the government’s health experts will also be taken consideration.

Roque made the remarks after the OCTA research group recommended the implementation of “circuit-breaking lockdowns” to thwart the imminent spread of the highly contagious Delta variant. The local health researchers reportedly observed a case surge happening in Metro Manila and proposed the imposition of a lockdown while the number of cases is not yet high.

“Wala pa pong recommendation for hard lockdown dahil ang importante po total health. Binabalanse po talaga natin iyan. Iwasan natin ang pagkalat pero ngayon po, mas importante iyong prevention (There is no recommendation for hard lockdown because the total health is important. We are trying to balance this. We will try to avoid the spread but for now, prevention is more important),” Roque said during a televised press briefing Tuesday, July 27.

Roque said the government welcomes the recommendation of OCTA but will also look into the views of other medical experts. “Napakadami po ng eksperto ng gobyerno (There are many experts in government) so I can assure OCTA that we are employing the whole government approach,” he said.

Given the threat of the Delta variant, Roque said the government intends to review the quarantine classification of cities and provinces every two weeks. Any changes in the risk classification will be announced promptly.

Roque likewise appealed anew to the public to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Health regulations, including wearing of mask and physical distancing, must also be strictly followed to prevent getting infected and spreading the virus.

“Huwag na po nating hintayin mawalan tayo uli ng hanapbuhay. Mag-ingat na po tayo ngayon nang sa ganoon magpatuloy po tayo ng ating hanapbuhay at siyempre po, magpabakuna na (Let us not wait for the time when he lose our job again. Let’s take precautions now so we can continue with our livelihood and of course, please get vaccinated),” he said.

The country has recorded more than 1.5 million cases of coronavirus, including over 100 cases of the Delta variant. Several places remained under strict quarantine levels until the end of the month to curb the local transmission of the coronavirus.

In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) Monday, July 26, President Duterte said the country could not afford more lockdowns or else risk the “irreversible” damage to the local economy. Duterte however also admitted that he may consider such “strict” movement controls to quell the Delta threat in the country.

“It is rampaging now in Indonesia, Thailand, India, and many parts of Asia. And ang sabi doon sa — the Western medicine says that it is far more aggressive and far more dangerous and it can cause death easily than the COVID-19 original,” Duterte said.

“So this is as good as any other time to say it, if sees that it is really dangerous, you have to go back to lockdown. If there are many people in other parts of the world killing as many, then Delta, if ever it will spread — we have it here now — I hope it will not go any further. But if something wrong happens, I’ll have to be strict and I have now my word that there will be a… Just like what happened in the early days,” he said.