MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday (March 12) addressed the entire nation in relation to the current health emergency due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
The President, after meeting with the members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases in Malacañang, placed the entire Metro Manila under “community quarantine” as it is where most cases of COVID-19 are detected.
“Community quarantine is hereby imposed in the entirety of Metro Manila,” the President said reading the task force’s resolution.
The President also raised the Code Red alert to Sublevel 2.
Following the announcement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a statement reiterated the details of the 30-day Stringent Social Distancing Measures in the National Capital Region (NCR) which will begin at 12:00 midnight of March 15.
- Land, domestic air, and domestic sea travel to and from Metro Manila shall be suspended beginning March 15, 2020 at 12 midnight until April 14, 2020 at 11:59 pm.
- Class suspension in all levels in Metro Manila is extended until April 12, 2020. Students are expected to remain at home for the said duration.
- Mass gatherings are prohibited if the number of people attending will strain the planning and response resources of the community hosting the event.
- Community quarantine is imposed in the entire Metro Manila.
- Local government units outside the National Capital Region are advised to abide by the following guidelines in imposing community quarantines in their respective jurisdictions:
- 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 are 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 jurisdictions, upon the declaration of a State of Calamity, shall be allowed to access their Quick Response Fund.
- All manufacturing, retail and service establishments shall remain in operation provided that strict social distancing measures are observed.
- Mass public transports shall continue in operation, following guidelines by the Department of Transportation intended to ensure social distancing.
- All travelers from countries with localized COVID-19 transmissions are not allowed to enter the Philippines, except for Filipino citizens including 1) their foreign spouse and children, if any; 2) holders of permanent resident visa; and 3) holders of diplomatic visas issued by the Philippine Government.
“To be clear, and to allay the fears and apprehension of the public, the government is essentially calling for a stricter implementation of preventive measures in order to slow down and put a halt to the further spread of COVID-19,” Panelo said.
In addition to this, Panelo clarified there is no lockdown in Metro Manila.
“While a total and absolute lockdown is considered by some as a valid preventive measure, current circumstances do not warrant such an extreme course of action,” he said.
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