‘Strict COVID-19 lockdowns unlikely to be reimposed’  

Louisse Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star
âStrict COVID-19 lockdowns unlikely to be reimposedâ  Â 
People are seen flocking to Divisoria in Manila in this photo, causing the DOH to remind to public to stay away from crowded areas.
The STAR / Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is not seen resorting to any “economically damaging” lockdowns again even as the country records a slight uptick in COVID cases in the past days.

In an analysis, UK-based The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) said the country’s economic recovery remains strong and will likely maintain such a momentum provided that there will be no return of mobility restrictions.

“We consider a return to the previous policy of lockdown unlikely, as the country’s healthcare system has proved capable of managing the spread of the Omicron variant,” the EIU said.

“Economically damaging containment measures will probably only be deployed again should a more lethal and equally infectious variant emerge to be the dominant strain of the coronavirus,” it said.

Right now, Metro Manila and most of the Philippines are under Alert Level 1 or the most lenient quarantine classification.

However, the country has seen a slight increase in COVID cases, logging 770 new cases last Friday, the highest daily recorded since early-March.

Nonetheless, this remains a far cry from the Omicron surge where cases peaked at over 30,000 per day.

“The absence of any significant lockdowns and mobility restrictions will provide a strong basis for growth, especially considering the low base for much of 2021,” the EIU said.

This as more than 70 percent of the economy relates to activities associated with domestic consumption.

Despite the Omicron surge, the economy managed to grow 8.3 percent in the first quarter, building on the recovery that started toward the tail end of 2021.

The EIU maintained that the first quarter performance was among the indicators of the ramifications of the government’s shift to treating COVID as an endemic disease.

It was in September last year when the government shied away from the enhanced community quarantine classification and instead shifted to the Alert Level systems.

Nonetheless, the EIU warned of major risk factors to the prospect of a robust recovery in the country.

“Chief among them the uncertainty surrounding the competency of the incoming president, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and an acceleration of inflation amid the war in Ukraine,” it said.


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