Malacañang denies ‘nationwide lockdown’ report

Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo

JUST another fake news.

Malacañang on Monday, March 23, denied reports that the government will place the entire country under lockdown as part of measures to stop or prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

“Those who spread fake news should have themselves disinfected. They are now moving faster than the virus itself,” Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said.

“The virus is worried and sees them as competitors and is now looking for them. Watch out!” he added.

A message circulating online claimed that Malacañang will impose a nationwide lockdown that will shut down even wet markets to stop the people from going out of their homes. Food will be rationed every three days, the report said.

The report has been flagged as fake news.

President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the entire Luzon under an enhanced community quarantine, during which public transport systems are suspended, food and health services are regulated, and the people are mandated to stay at home. Only one person per household is allowed to go out to replenish supplies.

Several local governments have also imposed localized quarantine rules.

As of Sunday, the Department of Health (DOH) reported 380 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country, with 25 deaths and 17 recoveries.

The Philippines is under a state of public health emergency and state of calamity, allowing government to tap funds for use in the battle against Covid-19.

The President is seeking additional powers to be able to deal with wayward local government officials, realign part of the 2020 budget and direct the operation of certain privately owned facilities.

Congress is still deliberating on bills declaring a national emergency and granting additional powers to the President. (SunStar Philippines)