JTF COVID Shield: Eased quarantine is for the economy, not 'for leisure'
Photo shows members of the Highway Patrol Group, which is part of the enforcement arm of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, enforcing quarantine rules.
Release / JTF CV Shield

JTF COVID Shield: Eased quarantine is for the economy, not 'for leisure'

Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - May 18, 2020 - 7:15pm

MANILA, Philippines — The quarantine enforcement arm of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases stressed Monday that the quarantine restrictions were eased to kickstart the economy and not for people to go out leisurely. 

Although the government has allowed more industries to resume operations subject to physical distancing guidelines, these are all considered essential. Non-essential businesses, like those that offer leisure goods and services, remain closed.

In a statement issued Monday afternoon, the second day of inspections amid the newly declared Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine in Metro Manila, Joint Task Force COVID Shield urged the public to exercise self-restraint amid temptation to go out of their houses with the partial re-opening of some malls and other business establishments.
Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, commander of JTF CV Shield, reminded the public that the threat of coronavirus infection is still present and going out for unnecessary travel will only endanger their life and their families.

“I am just reminding our countrymen that our government has allowed some business establishments to open up our economy, not for us to go out on trips,” Eleazar said.

“We should only respect our workers who are the priority of our government to help revitalize our economy and provide an opportunity to re-establish and revitalize their families,” he added.

Eleazar made the appeal over reports that some people are taking advantage of the government’s decision to ease some restrictions on quarantine rules that include opening of business establishments like malls.

Just the day before, the task force similarly warned the public that they would oversee the closure of malls if social distancing and quarantine rules continue to be broken amid the easing of lockdown regulations. 

Most malls have supermarkets, pharmacies, and hardware stores, which are considered essential businesses.

During the first day of the implementation of the MECQ along with the general community quarantine in other areas, droves of people flocked to malls with seemingly no regard for physical distancing.

RELATED: Malls allowed to partially open

Police commanders have been instructed to strictly monitor compliance of malls and other business establishments.

In his statement, Eleazar particularly directed the appeal for self-restraint to those entering Metro Manila and other areas still under MECQ, noting the sudden increase of vehicles attempting to enter Metro Manila.

"During the inspection of vehicles on Sunday near the boundary of Metro Manila and Rizal, one of the motorists who was flagged down by PLt.Gen. Eleazar said that he was going to Metro Manila to buy garlic," the statement also read. 
“If you are just buying garlic, onions, tomatoes or something else that you can buy in your area then do not enter Metro Manila,” the general said.

Mobile checkpoints have already been set up while police have also been ordered to conduct random checking of vehicles.

“Their vehicles may not be checked in Quarantine Control Points but if my men found out that they are not allowed to go out or they are violating the physical distancing inside the vehicle during mobile checkpoint and random inspection, we will make sure that we will hold them accountable,” added Brig. Gen. Eliseo Cruz, PNP Highway Patrol Group director.

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