Granular lockdowns better as wider lockdowns no longer effective, says UP expert

Published September 15, 2021, 2:49 PM

by Jaleen Ramos

The implementation of granular lockdowns may help the country to move forward amid the coronavirus pandemic, University of the Philippines (UP) COVID-19 Pandemic Response Team said Wednesday, Sept. 15.

Barangay tanods in Pasay City barricade a street in an area placed under a ‘special concerned lockdown’ after some residents got infected with COVID-19. (ALI VICOY / MANILA BULLETIN)

“I believe granular lockdown is better compared to the regional-wide or provincial wide lockdowns. This is because we’ve seen in the data that very wide lockdowns are not anymore that effective compared to the 2020 and March 2021 ECQs [enhanced community quarantine],” said Dr. Jomar Rabajante, spokesman of the UP COVID-19 Pandemic Response Team, in an interview with ANC’s Rundown.

“This is also because having granular lockdowns, we can really target places [with] very high risk, very high number of clusters,” he added.

Rabajante, meanwhile, pointed out that the implementation of the granular lockdown will be successful only if coupled with continuous pandemic response.

“Wide lockdowns are very expensive, and we can put our money to a better strategy. But in order for the granular lockdown to be successful, this means that we need to increase testing in that place, contract tracing, definitely contact tracing. We need to increase our effort of COVID sheriffs, people who are implementing the rules,” he said.

“Sadly I’m working with some LGUs, they don’t have people to do this. I’m not sure with NCR, there might be, but for the provinces that I’ve worked with, the LGUs, they’re saying they cannot do this up to the granular level. They need help,” Rabajante told ANC.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) approved the guidelines for the pilot implementation of granular lockdowns with new alert levels system in Metro Manila, Malacanang announced Monday, Sept. 13.

The country on Tuesday, Sept. 14, recorded 18,056 new COVID-19 cases.