A lockdown of Metro Manila to halt the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) will only result in panic and hoarding” of goods.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III stressed this amid the proposal of the Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (ITFMEID) to “suspend” land, domestic air, and domestic sea travel to and from Metro Manila.
“Preventing travel to and from Metro Manila with only 52 cases [of COVID-19] as this point is a textbook case of overreaction,” Sotto said.
The right course of action “is not lockdown, which is an extreme measure, but localized containment of COVID-19 cases,” he said.
“The time is not ripe for placing entire communities, cities and provinces under lockdown. Lockdown should be the last resort,” Sotto said.
He said that the poor and the vulnerable sectors will be adversely affected under this scenario as they “don’t have the resources to cope with any shortage of food and other necessities, and the resulting inflation, if any.”
Sotto said that the economic impact of putting the National Capital Region (NCR) under a total lockdown is staggering.
“[The] NCR is the political and economic capital of the Philippines. The economy will grind to a halt as the flow of goods and people from the provinces to NCR, and vice versa, will be affected,” he said.
“The solution lies in more testing of the population and strict containment of heavily-affected areas, if such a scenario arises,” he stressed.