‘Preventing surge key to keeping economy open’

‘Preventing surge key to keeping economy open’

Preventing a surge in COVID cases is key to keeping the economy open, according to presidential adviser for entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion.

“If we want to keep the economy open, we need to take action and vaccinate all our employees and family members, and comply with health protocols and guidelines,” Concepcion said.

“The private sector has been proactive ever since with calling of the lockdown and securing vaccines. Now we are working together to discuss how to sustain this momentum and prevent a surge again,” he said.

His call came amid the detection of a new COVID variant, identified in South Africa as B.1.1.529, which is reportedly more transmissible than Delta and is highly mutated.

A coming town hall meeting on Dec.15 called “VAX to the MAX: Preventing the Surge” will bring together data and medical experts, key government officials and the private sector to discuss how the Philippines can head off a surge following the granting of increased mobility to Filipinos.

The town hall meeting is seen as timely in the light of the appearance of the new COVID variant.

Concepcion recalled that it was the private sector’s proactive move to call in late July for an early lockdown in early August in the National Capital Region (NCR).

The move was effective in bringing down the number of new COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila. In making the call, the private sector took into consideration the analysis by OCTA Research. The rise in cases was believed to have been triggered by the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant.

Last Thursday, a spot map went viral for showing side by side the number of active COVID-19 cases in the NCR from two dates in September and November this year.

The map showed the stark drop in cases using Department of Health (DOH) data from two specific dates: Sept. 6 and Nov. 15.

The map was created by disaster scientist Dr. Mahar Lagmay, and posted on his Twitter account with the caption, “Big difference! Nov. 15, 2021 vs. Sept. 6, 2021 random dot map of active cases in Metro Manila.” The specific dates chosen by Dr. Lagmay recorded stark differences in the number of new cases: 22,415 for Sept. 6 and 1,547 for Nov. 15.

“There was opposition to the call, but we chose to believe the data,” said Concepcion, saying that the map shows unequivocally the effect of a timely lockdown on the decrease in the spread of the virus, as well as the proactive approach of all sectors to stop its spread.

Concepcion said the private sector continues to be vigilant amid the gains it has achieved in opening up businesses while reminding members to continue to implement public health and safety protocols.

Initiatives such as VAX to the MAX monitor vaccination rates across the country to encourage local governments to step up their vaccination efforts. “Vaccination remains our primary weapon against the virus,” he said. An unvaccinated population is seen as contributory to the rise of virus mutations.

The national government has set aside Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 as National Vaccination Day.


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