Metro Manila under 'lockdown' due to coronavirus

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday night, March 12, placed Metro Manila under "community quarantine" or essentially a "lockdown" for 30 days to combat the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Metro Manila under lockdown due to coronavirus
President Rodrigo Duterte's public address on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

This comes after Duterte approved the recommendation of Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to raise the alert level for the coronavirus to maximum level of Code Red sub-level 2, marking the first massive lockdown in the country in recent history.

SEE ALSO: DOH reports 3 additional deaths due to coronavirus

The lockdown covers 16 cities and one municipality of Metro Manila and will start in 48 hours or March 15, 2020 and will last until April 14, 2020.

"The recommendation of the Department of Health Technical Advisory Group on imposing Stringent Social Distancing Measures in the National Capital Region are adopted for a period of 30 days," the IATF's Resolution No. 11 stated.

"Land, domestic air, and domestic sea travel to and from Metro Manila shall be suspended after the expiration of 48 hours from issuance of this Resolution," it adds. This means that at least 12 million people will be barred from traveling outside the central region for at least 30 days.

“Ayaw naming gamitin ‘yan kasi takot kayo sabihin niyo ‘lockdown’. But it’s a lockdown. There’s no struggle of power here, walang giyera. It’s a matter of protecting and defending you from COVID-19,” Duterte said in his evening address.

SEE ALSOWorkers, businessmen exempted from Metro Manila 'community quarantine'

Local Government Units (LGUs) in other areas are also advised to abide by the following guidelines on community quarantine:
  • A barangay-wide quarantine is advised when there at least two (2) positive COVID-19 cases belonging to different households in the same barangay;
  • A municipality/city-wide quarantine is advised when there at least two (2) positive COVID-19 cases belonging to different barangays in the same municipality/city;
  • A province-wide quarantine is advised when there at least two (2) positive COVID-19 cases belonging to different municipalities, component cities or independent component cities in the same province; and
  • LGUs, which have imposed community quarantine in their respective jurisdiction\s, upon the declaration of a State of Calamity, shall be allowed to access their Quick Response Fund.

Meanwhile, operations of mass transport systems like the Metro Rail Transit (MRT), Light Rail Transit (LRT) and the Philippine National Railways (PNR) will continue but commuters are advised of social distancing.

The president also announced extension of class suspension until April 12, 2020. Work in the executive branch will also be suspended but skeletal workforces will be formed to maintain delivery of services.

The task force encouraged the public sector to shift to flexible work arrangements. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will release guidelines.

Mass gatherings are prohibited.

Earlier, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a global pandemic with around 18,000 cases in 114 countries, and 4,291 people have lost their lives.

"In the days and weeks ahead, we expect to see the number of cases, the number of deaths, and the number of affected countries climb even higher," worried WHO director expressed.

On Thursday afternoon, Department of Health (DOH) reported three (3) additional positive COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 52.

— The Summit Express

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