MANILA — Muntinlupa City representative Rozzano Rufino ‘Ruffy’ Biazon has advised the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) to localize the reopening of businesses in the country depending on which local government units (LGUs) have already rolled out their vaccination programs.
Biazon gave the advice following an earlier call from a member of the University of the Philippines OCTA Research Group (UP-OCTA) that said the government should begin first with the much-awaited Covid-19 vaccine rollout before further relaxing the quarantine and minimum health safety restrictions in Metro Manila in order to avoid a further spike in the number of infections of Covid-19.
OCTA’s Dr. Guido David stressed that Metro Manila should not risk a surge in Covid-19 cases while the government awaits rolling out the expected vaccines because this could delay and scuttle the successful implementation of the government’s vaccination program.
“For Metro Manila, I think it’s too early to risk an MGCQ (modified general community quarantine) at this stage. Especially the vaccine rollout is yet to happen. So, the best thing is to wait first for the vaccine rollout,” Guido said.
Biazon supported this line saying that the vaccination program should be started first before easing restrictions because this would ensure that customers of businesses will be safe as the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.
“The reopening of businesses should be staggered and based on which LGUs have already implemented their respective Covid-19 vaccine plans,” he said in a statement.
“This way, we can ensure that the patrons going to these businesses will not be at risk for infection to the coronavirus and become unknowing vectors,” the solon added.
Added to this, the Muntinlupa lawmaker stressed that the IATF should synchronize the opening of sectors in the economy with that of the Covid-19 vaccine plan for that specific sector.
“We should identify sectors in the economy to open up, and the reopening should be tied in with a vaccination plan for that sector. This will help boost not just immunity, but more importantly, the confidence of consumers to actually patronize those businesses,” Biazon said.
“If we open the businesses without a confidence-building measure such as a vaccination program, the consumer response may not be enough to sustain the overhead cost, as well as lead into another surge of infections,” he further said.
To recall, the IATF earlier allowed the reopening of more businesses like cinemas, museums, and tourist attractions such as theme parks in areas under a general community quarantine (GCQ), including Metro Manila.
However, the mayors of Metro Manila have opted to defer the reopening of cinemas in the region amid continuing concerns over Covid-19.
Malacañan has rescheduled the reopening of cinemas in GCQ areas for 1 March. (JSM/JuanManila)