Members of the Manila Police District Sta. Cruz police station set up a check point along Blumentritt Street in Manila on Sunday night to remind the public of the proper social distancing measure inside passenger jeepneys and the implementation of curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman
Duterte places entire Luzon under 'enhanced' community quarantine
Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - March 16, 2020 - 3:32pm

MANILA, Philippines (5th update at 10:13 p.m.) — President Rodrigo Duterte declared an "enhanced community quarantine" over the entire Luzon including Metro Manila as part of a continuous push to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus disease.

This comes as the latest in a string of measures after Duterte last week approved the hoisting of Code Red Sublevel 2 and placing Metro Manila under community quarantine.

A newly issued memorandum from the Palace on the enhanced quarantine guides government agencies to ensure the following:

  • Prohibition of mass gatherings and imposition of strict home quarantine among all households

"Movement shall be limited to accessing basic necessities, provision for food and essential health services shall be regulated," the memorandum states. "And there will be heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce quarantine procedures."

  • Work-from-home arrangement for the executive branch

"Except the [Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine Coast Guard and health and emergency frontline services, border control and other critical services which shall ensure a skeletal workforce."

  • Only essential establishments are to remain open

"Only those private establishments providing basic necessities and such activities related to food and medicine production i.e. public markets, supermarkets, groceries, convenience stores, hospitals, medical clinics, pharmacies and drug stores, food preparation and delivery services, water-refilling stations, manufacturing and processing plants of basic food products and medicines, power energy, water and telecommunications supplies and facilities shall be open."

READ: Restricted movement in mainland Luzon until April 12 due to COVID-19 quarantine

Despite the continued operations of the businesses falling under the above categories, they are required to adopt "strict skeletal workforce to support operations" and staff will also observe social distancing measures. Restaurants, meanwhile, are only allowed to deliver food but not open their establishments to dine-in and walk-in customers, said Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles at a press conference.

Export-oriented industries and business process outsourcing companies can also remain operational provided that they offer temporary accommodations to their personnel and observe social distancing as well.

Media practitioners will also be allowed to travel within the quarantine area as long as they are accredited via the Presidential Communications Operations Office.

  • Suspension of mass public transport facilities

Only private vehicles are allowed if the intention is to secure basic necessities like food and medicines. Only one person per family is allowed to buy essential items.

Employees who would normally take public transportation can be provided with private vehicles by their companies or by the local government unit.

READ: No mass transportation amid 'enhanced community quarantine' in Luzon

  • Restricted land, air and sea travel

Outbound passengers can still push through with travel plans within the next 72 hours since the declaration of the enhanced quarantine, that is until Thursday, March 19.

Inbound passengers who are in transit will still be allowed entry but will be subject to quarantine procedures if coming from countries covered by the travel restrictions.

Inbound Filipino citizens and holders of permanent resident visas will also still be allowed entry. They should also expect to be subject to quarantine procedures if coming from countries heavily affected by the outbreak.

  • Labor, social welfare, finance, budget and trade departments to come up with programs for affected workers and businesses

"These measures may include, but shall not be limited to, moratorium on lease rentals, advancing a pro-rated thirteenth-month pay, reprieve in utility bills, and assistance to micro-, small- and medium-scale enterprises," the memorandum states.

READ: Duterte urges early release of 13th month pay as coronavirus-related job losses loom

The Department of Social Welfare and Development was also tasked to come up with solutions for food assistance to those most affected across Luzon.

Not a 'total lockdown'

What the Cabinet officials proposed earlier on Monday, however, was a total lockdown of Metro Manila which they did not call an enhanced quarantine.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo bared that the proposal would be taken up at the meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force behind the administration's response to the worsening virus. 

READ: NCRPO sees smoother implementation of quarantine by next week

"A total lockdown would mean closing of all establishments, it would mean also work or classes are suspended," he explained to reporters at a briefing earlier that morning at Malacañang.

Panelo assured the public that food supply in a lockdown would not be a cause for concern. "We will not stop the entry of food supply. Markets should also remain open. I think even in Macau, they remained open," Panelo said.

The Department of Interior and Local Government last week asked the media to use the term "lockdown" sparingly in their reportage as this word could trigger panic.

Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya earlier said that a lockdown would mean that people would be confined and not allowed to leave. 

READ: 'Is it a lockdown or a community quarantine?' Your questions about latest move vs COVID-19 answered

“That’s why the word lockdown is usually used with relation to prisoners. So when China declared a lockdown in Wuhan, their citizens are not allowed to leave those cities and the highways were closed. That’s a lockdown,” he said in a statement sent to reporters.

But at Thursday night's address, the President admitted, "Ayaw naming gamitin 'yan. But there is a lockdown."

 

--

If you believe you have come into possible contact with infected patients, you may be directed to the proper office of the Department of Health for advice through the following lines: (632) 8651-7800 local 1149-1150 or (632) 165-364.

You may also opt to call the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine at (02) 8807-2631/ 8807-2632/ 8807-2637.

COMMUNITY QUARANTINE COVID-19 METRO MANILA LOCKDOWN NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: August 4, 2020 - 7:27pm

Follow this page for updates on a mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has struck dozens of people in China.

August 4, 2020 - 7:27pm

Global police body Interpol warned Monday of an "alarming" rate of cybercrime during the coronavirus pandemic, with criminals taking advantage of people working from home to target major institutions.

An assessment by the Lyon-based organisation found a "significant target shift" by criminals from individuals and small businesses to major corporations, governments and critical infrastructure.

"Cybercriminals are developing and boosting their attacks at an alarming pace, exploiting the fear and uncertainty caused by the unstable social and economic situation created by COVID-19," said Interpol Secretary General Juergen Stock. 

"The increased online dependency for people around the world is also creating new opportunities, with many businesses and individuals not ensuring their cyberdefences are up to date," he added. — AFP

August 4, 2020 - 4:42pm

The Department of Health reports 6,352 additional cases of the coronavirus disease. This raises the total number of COVID-19 infections in the Philippines to 112,593.

There are currently 44,429 active cases in the country. 240 patients have recovered and 11 more died from the deadly virus.

August 4, 2020 - 10:24am

According to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, the United States added 46,321 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours Monday.

The world's largest economy also added 532 deaths, the Baltimore-based institution's tracker showed at 8:30 pm (0030 GMT Tuesday).

The US has now recorded 4,711,323 total cases, with 155,366 deaths, making it by far the worst-hit country in the world. — AFP

August 4, 2020 - 7:38am

Latin American and the Caribbean on Monday surpassed five million coronavirus cases, according to an AFP tally, more than half of which have been registered in Brazil.

Alongside the cases, there have been more than 200,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the region.

Brazil, a country of 210 million, has recorded 2.75 million infections and more than 94,000 deaths.

Only the United States with 4.8 million cases and almost 155,000 deaths has been worse affected than the South American giant. — AFP

August 3, 2020 - 4:23pm

The Department of Health reports 3,226 additional COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, pushing the country's total to 106,330.

The DOH also announces 275 recoveries, bringing the total number of recoveries to 65,821. The national death toll is now at 2,104 with 46 new deaths.

"With 3,226 additional cases reported today, 2,543 (79%) cases occurred within the recent 14 days (July 21 to August 3). The top regions with cases in the recent two weeks were NCR (1,267 or 50%), Region 4A (445 or 17%) and Region 7 (353 or 14%)," the DOH says.

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