Concepcion: NCR lockdown 'right decision' to contain Delta spread, prevent 'pandemic of the unvaccinated'

The government has made the "right decision" in reverting Metro Manila to a two-week strict lockdown next month, according to Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion.

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion talks to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and testing czar Vince Dizon on the sidelines of the COVID vaccine rollout for workers at the SM Mall of Asia on June 7, 2021.(Ali Vicoy/ Manila Bulletin)

Concepcion maintained that the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to be enforced in Metro Manila from August 6 to August 20, 2021 would be the key to contain the spread of the coronavirus cases driven by the Delta variant and save lives and livelihood.

The business sector and the OCTA research group earlier pushed for the preemptive "circuit breaker" lockdown to stem any imminent spike of the highly transmissible Delta strain. The country's Delta cases have jumped to over 200 in a span of a few days, prompting the government to tighten movement restrictions to slow down the transmission.

“I am glad that the DOH (Department of Health) has supported this. I am also happy that Secretary Francisco Duque III and the members of the IATF-EID (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) have made the right decision, supporting also the Metro Manila mayors’ proposal,” Concepcion said in a statement.

Concepcion has backed the two-week lockdown next month instead of imposing such movement curbs in the fourth quarter of the year, a crucial period for the recovery of the business sector.

“We prefer that we solve the problem early and not wait for the problem to get bigger, because then we will have a lockdown for months. That is the most catastrophic thing in our country if that happens in the 4th quarter,” he said.

Concepcion made the pitch to help ensure the survival of the country's small businesses reeling from the impact of the pandemic. “My role as an adviser to the president is to help our MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) survive this pandemic. I have earlier recommended that the earlier we do this , the shorter it is,” he said.

As the capital region goes on strict lockdown next month, Concepcion also pushed for the accelerated vaccination drive to boost the protection of more Filipinos against the coronavirus.

“The Delta virus is here, and we must prepare now. It’s become a tight and dangerous race between Delta and the government and private sector efforts to vaccinate the unvaccinated,” Concepcion said.

“We need to slow down the acceleration of the Delta infections to buy us more time to inoculate the unprotected. This also allows us to save the lives of the unvaccinated people, who are the most vulnerable during this time,” he added.