Lockdowns vs coronavirus must be data-driven – businessman

Ralf Rivas
Lockdowns vs coronavirus must be data-driven – businessman


Talks of extended, localized lockdowns surface, but PCCI president George Barcelon says the government must have the numbers to assure Filipinos of a proper approach to the outbreak

MANILA, Philippines – Lifting the Luzon lockdown for the coronavirus pandemic and implementing new, localized quarantine zones must be data-driven, businessman George Barcelon told Rappler on Tuesday, March 31.

Barcelon, who is also the president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said numbers play a big part in policy-making and gives assurance to the business community that the battle is done right.

“Look at Wuhan in China, they implemented a lockdown but now they feel somewhat safer, because they have taken all precautions and they have numbers showing the conditions,” Barcelon said.

“If there are no numbers, you can’t audit and show that it’s working,” he added.

He added that the private sector can help in validating figures.

As of Tuesday, the Philippines has recorded 2,048 coronavirus cases, with 88 deaths and 49 recoveries. Testing remains an issue, since there are not enough coronavirus kits. (READ: China disowns defective coronavirus test kits in PH)

Barcelon’s statement comes as businessmen pitch in with their suggestions on how to improve government response to the outbreak.

Notes on a recently held video conference call between business tycoons and government officials had leaked online. Based on the notes, some personalities floated the idea of barangay-wide lockdowns after April 15, the expected end-date of the Luzon lockdown.

Tycoons also raised their concerns on the lockdown’s economic impact and the rate of testing for the virus.

The lockdown has hurt supply chains due to inconsistent implementation of checkpoint rules.

The virus may also lead to a recession and thousands of job losses as companies cut costs or shut down. (WATCH: Rappler Talk: Saving the economy from a pandemic)

Barcelon clarified that the leaked notes did not fully reflect what went down during the video call, adding that the meeting was meant for a “simple exchange of ideas.” – Rappler.com

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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.