THE delivery of the 600,000 China-made COVID-19 vaccines must have been enough reason for President Rodrigo Duterte to consider a downgrade of Metro Manila’s quarantine status to the least stringent modified general community quarantine.
“I am considering it… Our economy is really down, as in down so the earlier na mabilisan itong vaccine, the better,” Duterte said in a press conference hours after the China-made vaccines landed on Philippine soil.
However, Duterte underscored the need for the government to secure enough vaccine supplies before opening the economy.
“If the vaccine is available to anybody for one reason or another sa mga probinsya na-distribute na ‘yan… Estimate nila about 40 million. Kung maka-hit tayo ng 40 million, ‘pag nandiyan na ang vaccine, maski may mga 20 tayo o 30 [million], buksan ko na dahil sa eocnomy,” the President said.
“People have to eat. People have to work. People have to pay… And the only way to do it is to open the economy and for business to regrow… Without that, patay talaga. Mahihirapan tayo,” the Palace chief executive quipped.
Aside from being the seat of power, Metro Manila, which recorded the highest COVID-19 infections since the onset of the pandemic in March last year, is also considered the economic lifeblood of the country.