DTI opposes ECQ extension in NCR

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 17) — Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said Tuesday he supports the calls of business groups to place Metro Manila under a less restrictive quarantine status after Aug. 20 to restore more jobs.

"As long as mawala po iyong threat ng surge ng Delta variant, kami ay po naniniwala na pwede po sanang mag-de-escalate tayo to MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine) at magbigay ng granular lockdown nalang," Lopez said in a Laging Handa briefing.

[Translation: As long as the threat of a surge in Delta variant cases is quashed, we believe the region's quarantine status can de-escalate to MECQ, and we can impose granular lockdowns instead.]

He said the inter-agency task force is set to discuss the new quarantine status of Metro Manila this week.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua earlier warned the Philippine economy could lose ₱105 billion each week the NCR is under ECQ.

The region shifted to the strictest enhanced community quarantine following the sudden increase in cases, which officials said was mainly due to variants of concern, including Delta.

The Department of Health has said all of Metro Manila's 17 cities and municipality have Delta variant cases.

Delta is said to be the most contagious among all variants of concern and appears to make people sicker.