Business on last stretch

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    The Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (FFCCCII) yesterday said business is on the last stretch and another six months to one year of lockdown could result to more companies closing down, according to Henry Lim Bon Liong, group president.

    Lim told the Pandesal Forum held virtually yesterday, said the group supports the economic managers’ position to open more sectors while strictly following health protocols on physical distancing and wearing of face masks and face shields.

    “During the quarantines, even the small vendors cannot do business… it has been a year (of quarantines) … if we stay in this quarantine longer, the economy will collapse. The government should look at the bigger picture,” Lim said.

    But he noted business is ready to comply with the mandate of the government which it urged to fasttrack the vaccine rollout to be able to inoculate the two million population that President Duterte has set as the hurdle for relaxing the restrictions.

    Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles in the same forum said the other variable for shifting to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) now is the number of cases which has been surging the past days particularly in the National Capital Region.

    While Nograles said it is early to say if GCQ will stay, the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases follows a formula in determining quarantine status such as the attack and growth rates of the virus, hospitalization rates, bed utilization in hospitals as as well socio-economic and security factors.

    “Local government units should act quickly and use the next two to three weeks for containment (of the spread) and imposing granular and localized lockdowns,” Nograles said.

    The IATF will reassess the situation in the fourth week and will come up with the quarantine recommendation for April.

    The FFCCCII and other business groups will buy 500,000 vaccines from Sinovac for their employees and will enter into a tripartite agreement with the government for the procurement.