DTI against tighter restrictions amid Delta variant threat

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 22) — Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez on Wednesday said he is against more restrictions on businesses amid the threat of the COVID-19 Delta variant spreading in the country.

He said current protocols are enough even after President Rodrigo Duterte said there may be a need to reimpose stricter measures as more cases of the infectious variant are recorded locally.

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Kita din naman natin, napakaingat, dahan dahan ‘yung pagbubukas diba?” Lopez said. “Nagrereklamo na nga ‘yung mga negosyo pero talagang nag-iingat tayo because of the Delta variant.”

[Translation: As we can see, we are very careful, slowly opening the economy. Businesses are complaining, but we are really cautious because of the Delta variant.]

The DTI chief said he will not recommend any restrictions during the meeting of the government’s pandemic task force this week, adding Duterte still has the final say on the matter.

The Department of Health has reported 35 Delta variant cases in the country, including locally acquired infections. There are currently eight active cases, while deaths stood at three.

More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, authorities had implemented at times weeks of strict enhanced community quarantine when infections spiked. This was to control movement across borders and curb the transmission of the virus.

However, this also meant business operations temporarily shut down, billions of incomes lost, and more unemployed workers.

So far, only a travel ban on countries with recorded Delta cases is in effect, while the public is urged to strictly follow health protocols and get vaccinated against COVID-19.

CNN Philippines correspondent Rex Remitio contributed to this report.