In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, most countries, including the Philippines, opted to enforce various forms of social distancing measures to curb the spread of the virus. A full month into the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) or lockdown, however, Filipinos are feeling the burdens of being required to stay at home over a prolonged period, such as loss of livelihood and income and discontinued education and social activities. Hence, questions on the duration of ECQ and the manner by which it will be lifted have surfaced.
The policy brief identifies three strategic directions that can be pursued to flatten the so-called epidemiological curve while coping with concomitant economic and social costs. These are mass testing, increasing the capacity of the national health care system, and reducing the economic and social costs of social distancing through, among others, alternative work arrangements and direct material/financial assistance.