WHO warns PH against nationwide easing of quarantine restrictions

The representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) to the Philippines warned against the recommendation to place the entire country under the modified general quarantine, noting the likely COVID-19 surge due to the increasing cases of variant and the vaccination has not started yet.

“If we now go for large scale relaxation of measures given the current, the existing situation and the circulation of variants and the fact that it will still be many months before a large proportion of Filipinos are vaccinated, we may witness a situation where there will be an upsurge of cases,” Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe said.

“I believe firmly that they still need to maintain these restrictions, that don’t mean that we cannot loosen up key areas where the economy will benefit,” Abeyasinghe added.

“But that has to be done in a very targeted manner, understanding what will be the economic benefit from those measure and what is the health risks from those measures,” the WHO official added.

“So a careful balancing of this situation is necessary. We understand that there are significant economic burdens on sectors of the population, that there is an urge to relax,” Abeyasinghe said.

“But as we have been saying right from the beginning, every measure needs to be carefully calibrated and decided upon before it being implemented,” he added.

Also read: WHO: No need to wear double surgical masks

WHO warns PH against nationwide easing of quarantine restrictions

According to acting NEDA chief Karl Chua, more than P1 trillion was lost to the country’s economy by 2020 due to protocols implemented to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

He said this is equivalent to P2.8 billion per day.

In addition, he said, the number of recorded cases can be controlled and there are mechanisms that are supposed to continue to control it.

The also agreed to NEDA’s following recommendations which are for President Rodrigo Duterte’s consideration:

  • increasing the capacity allowed in public transport from 50% to 75%;
  • complimenting public transport with active transport via bike lanes;
  • allowing more provincial to operate;
  • resuming the pilot-testing of face-to-face classes.