Rebound doable despite COVID surge

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    The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) remains optimistic the economy would still be able to bounce back this year despite the rising number of new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases that stops the country from reopening more sectors.

    DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said recovery is still possible as long as the country does not backtrack on quarantines and will limit lockdowns to specific areas where the number of COVID cases is high.

    “That way, the economy in other areas will remain open. If we strictly enforce health protocols and we implement localized lockdowns, the rebound is doable,” Lopez said.

    He added the economy will register positive growth rates in the second and third quarters.

    This is consistent with the projection earlier made by the National Economic and Development Authority

    Meanwhile, Lopez said lifting of age restrictions may have to be postponed with the number of cases on the rise.

    Lopez cited President Duterte’s “comfort level” of having more Filipinos vaccinated before relaxing quarantine restrictions as his basis.

    Lopez said he supports the decision of Metro Manila mayors not to open cinemas and arcades in areas under general community quarantine.

    He added this is consistent with the provisions of a memorandum circular that left it to local government units the decision to open these industries.

    “These will be allowed to open later on at 25 percent but this depends on the situation. This follow the principle of gradual reopening,” Lopez said.

    He added the economic cluster wants to open more sectors but “we will not sacrifice health.”