By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Davao Times

A top COVID-19 pandemic official would rather see Filipinos “learning to live with the coronavirus” instead of imposing another lockdown enforcements.

National Task Force against COVID-19 Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. on Sunday said the part of that “living with the coronavirus” are observing health and safety protocols and getting a vaccine shot against the disease.

“President Duterte understands that as we provide our countrymen with an added layer of protection against the virus, [we] must also take the necessary steps to bring back consumer and investment confidence and put the nation’s economy back on track to its pre-pandemic level. We must also keep in mind that the vaccine program will not put an immediate end to the health crisis. We must learn to live with the virus until it is totally eradicated,” Galvez said.

With the latest surge of infections, many were worried the country could be facing another lockdown to further contain the spread of COVID-19.

However, Galvez said the government already expected the surge due to “improved” strategies in fighting the outbreak.

Prior to this, Galvez said the way forward is the implementation of granular lockdowns where only a certain street, establishment, or barangay will be closed instead of the entire region to further minimize the negative effects on the country’s economy.

“The President is well aware of the need to fully reopen our economy while implementing aggressive measures to contain the spread of the virus and mitigate its impact. The government is doing its best to ensure that the country handle a possible spike in COVID-19 cases due to its improved testing, contact tracing, treatment and isolation capacity,” he said.

Moreover, the official reminded the public to comply with minimum health protocols such as proper handwashing, wearing of face masks and face shields, and observing physical distancing.

“In order for us to fully reopen the economy, we must not forget the most important lesson we have learned over the past year: we cannot be complacent. Therefore, we must still continue to strictly adhere to minimum health standards and community quarantine protocols,” Galvez said.

As of Sunday, March 14, the Department of Health (DOH) reported 621,498 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 560,512 recoveries, and 12,829 deaths.

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