The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will endorse the lifting of curfew in all local government units once Metro Manila and other areas are allowed to shift to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) by October 1.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said businesses, especially small enterprises, can operate for longer hours if the limitation on operating hours is scrapped.
“We would like to suggest this to the local government executives so these enterprises and establishments can operate closer to normal in the new normal,” he said.
He added that longer business hours would mean more jobs for more people and more take-home pay for the regular workers.
All establishments that have reopened and are now reopening are reminded to take to heart and follow religiously, all the health protocols issued for the guided restart of businesses.
With the shift to MGCQ, diners and other essential establishments may operate at 50 percent capacity.
Once additional precautionary measures are established by the restaurants and other establishments like acrylic dividers and wider space the establishment may operate beyond 50 percent capacity.
Under MGCQ, tourism, tour operators and live events will be allowed, said Lopez.
Meanwhile, a group of doctors and businessmen are recommending preventive healthcare and the gradual lifting of COVID-19 lockdowns in the country, one of its members said on Tuesday.
The Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC-PH) last week launched the #FlattenTheFear campaign, which urges the government to end the lockdowns and promote the intake of proper nutrition to boost one's immune system.
According to Dr. Joel Lopez, prevention or early treatment of virus patients will "actually help ease the burden in the hospitals."
Lockdowns can be gradually lifted once these measures are in place, Lopez said.
Healthcare workers in August appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to place Metro Manila under a stricter modified lockdown to give them a breather.
"Our goal is to build up their immune system because people who eventually end up in hospitals are not able to fight the virus because their immune systems are not optimal in the first place," Lopez said during an interview on ANC.
"Our goal is for doctors at the barangay or local government level to be able to treat mild to moderate symptoms, so they won’t get worse and end up in the hospitals,” Lopez said.
The group urges the gradual lifting of lockdowns and to "#FlattenTheFear" as there has been "exaggeration" about the illness in the media and online that "people are almost paranoid of going outside," Lopez said.
"Even if the lockdowns are lifted because of the fear, probably people won’t still go out because of the constant input from the news," he said.
"What we need to look at is the number of the death rate, because if we keep looking at the number of cases daily it’s just gonna go up because if you keep on testing, a lot of people will turn out positive and some of those are false positives,” Lopez said.
“What we need to look at is the death rate and the death rate is actually low. If you look at that probably a lot of people won’t be as fearful," he said.
Aside from wearing face masks to prevent contracting the disease, Lopez recommends getting enough sleep, exercise, eating properly, adequate water intake and exposure to sunlight.
As for medication, Lopez recommends the use of the controversial anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, despite the World Health
Organization discontinuing its use in COVID-19 treatments after finding it "produces little or no reduction in the mortality of hospitalized COVID-19 patients when compared to standard of care."
"It’s quite controversial, but the use of this medication is between the doctor and the patient. You cannot recommend this to everyone because there are contraindications to the use of it," he said.
The drug "facilitates the entry of zinc into the cell," Lopez said.
Lopez said zinc “basically is the bullet and hydroxychloroquine is the gun.”
“Basically, zinc is an antiviral, it’s the one that prevents replication of the virus within the cell," he said.
The Department of Health (DOH) earlier warned that the CDCP may face sanctions for holding an event that violated the country’s quarantine guidelines, as mass gatherings are still unallowed and participants did not wear facemasks.