CEBU

Business owners hope vaccine will end tough times

GAMECHANGER. Business leaders believe that the Covid-19 vaccine is crucial in lifting the country’s economy from its deepest fall in 2020. It will help convince people to travel again, help stores reopen again, and eventually generate jobs again. (SunStar file)

THE Covid-19 vaccines bring new hope to the ailing economy both in health and wealth.

Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Steven Yu said the private sector is helping the government by working towards reopening the economy and implementing Covid-19 vaccinations.

“We should help push our way to overcoming this pandemic,” he said.

Despite the gloomy start of 2021 due to the second wave of coronavirus infections in western countries, Yu said there is light at the end of the tunnel because of the availability of the Covid-19 vaccine, no matter how limited it may be for now.

“Compared with last year, we also have a better understanding of the virus and the tools to test, trace and treat. We, in Cebu, have enough quarantine and health care facilities to treat the novel coronavirus. There is a spike in cases but it is far from the peak that we experienced before,” he said.

Yu said the challenge that remains vital is how to reopen the economy continuously and safely.

“Economically, yes, we are deeply scarred. But from here, the optimism comes in, because we have tested the bottom,” Yu said.

He said that achieving herd immunity through inoculation should be the ultimate goal, so the country can freely open the borders and drive consumption.

Procurement progress

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. on Jan. 11, 2021, said the national and local governments have signed agreements for the supply of over 30 million doses of candidate vaccines against Covid-19.

Negotiations are ongoing for over 100 million doses more, he said.

The target is to import a total of 148 million doses to inoculate 70 million citizens in 2021, Galvez told the Senate committee of the whole on Jan. 11.

As of Jan. 11, Galvez said the confirmed supply agreements were those signed with AstraZeneca and Serum Institute of India, through its Philippine partner Faberco Life Sciences Inc.

However, these will be available in the third quarter of 2021, at the earliest.

Moreover, the government is also now in the final stages of negotiation with American biotechnology company Moderna for the procurement of up to 20 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccines.

Eagerly waiting

Meanwhile, Alfred Reyes, vice president of the Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC) said the tourism industry is eagerly waiting for the arrival of the vaccine.

Reyes said the vaccine would spell immunity and with it comes the reopening of borders to allow entry of foreign tourists.

“We hope we can bounce back by the third and fourth quarter of 2021. Once the people will again have the confidence, that’s the time people will start traveling again,” he said.

Reyes said there is now hope since the vaccine has been discovered. It is just a matter of time that the vaccine will arrive in the Philippines. (JOB)


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