Stricter lockdowns to worsen poverty, job, income losses — IATF

STRICTER lockdowns in Metro Manila could prevent new coronavirus disease infections and deaths but could also worsen poverty, unemployment and income losses.

This is according to the cost-benefit analysis on the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) conducted by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) presented by Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua during a press briefing on Tuesday.

Chua said if the National Capital Region (NCR) will be placed anew on stricter lockdowns under MECQ, it could prevent more than 266,000 new Covid-19 cases, over 4,000 deaths, and more than 11,000 plus severe and critical cases.

Despite these expected positive results, however, Chua also noted that a renewed MECQ in Metro Manila could result in an additional 58,000 poor Filipinos and increase the 506,000 jobless by another 128,500.

Chua, who is also the National Economic and Development Authority chief, added the NCR and its adjacent areas could also lose up to P1.2 billion a day in terms of income.

“We balance all these factors to come up with the latest IATF decision,” he said.

It can be recalled that despite the calls for MECQ, the Palace instead placed NCR, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal under the general community quarantine (GCQ) from March 22 to April 4.

Only essential travel to and from the GCQ areas are allowed. A curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m are also being implemented in these areas.

All mass gatherings are prohibited. Weddings, baptism and funeral services are limited to 10 persons. Dine-in restaurants, cafes and establishments are also limited to delivery and take out.