Lockdown in August to help buy time for vaccination, says Palace adviser

Lockdown in August to help buy time for vaccination, says Palace adviser
Residents receive a dose of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan City on July 21, 2021.
The STAR / Boy Santos

MANILA, Philippines — An early circuit-breaker lockdown, such as the one President Duterte just approved, will prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease among the unvaccinated.

This is what Joey Concepcion, presidential adviser for entrepreneurship, said as he welcomed the decision to impose a two-week "enhanced community quarantine" across Metro Manila starting August 6.

“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.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Rochelle Walensky called the surge of new COVID-19 infections in the U.S. a "pandemic of the unvaccinated" as more serious cases arose among those who have not been fully jabbed.

“Our biggest concern is that we are going to continue to see preventable cases, hospitalizations and, sadly, deaths among the unvaccinated,” Dr. Walensky said at a White House briefing on July 16.

Concepcion warned that the Philippines, whose vaccination coverage is much lower than the United States', may also see the same trend if not for early interventions such as the lockdown.

Businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, will also be adversely affected for the rest of the fourth quarter should the Delta variant's transmission remain unabated.

“My role as an adviser to the president is to help our MSMEs survive this pandemic. I have earlier recommended that the earlier we do this [lockdown], the shorter it is,” Concepcion said.

“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 added.

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