Community quarantine in effect
THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez (The Freeman) - March 16, 2020 - 12:00am

President Duterte finally addressed the nation Thursday night. Everyone was waiting for the dreaded announcement of a lockdown of Metro Manila. Fortunately, that was not the case. The chief executive imposed a "community quarantine" where travel in and out of Metro Manila by land, sea, and air will be suspended for a month. Classes are also suspended until April 12. No nightclubbing allowed, Duterte adds. I wonder if he was addressing students or all males in general? Due to the "veerus" which is "spreading all over the country including the Philippines", these measures must be implemented.

But the government needs to come up with clear guidelines regarding the said quarantine. If the PNP sets up checkpoints to make sure the quarantine is enforced, there must be clear exemptions for those coming in to work. Factories are still open. Some businesses choose to remain open for the sake of their employees. Duterte's favorite senator isn't the only one supposedly hardworking. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those in the medical profession since they are in the front lines of this battle. Not only are they hardworking but they expose themselves to being infected. Not an enviable task.

The government is clarifying that it is not forbidden to leave the house for as long as they have a valid reason for doing so. This is not martial law. But you also need to be sure that the reason for leaving the house is important. The MRT, LRT, and PNR are still operational but there should be "social distancing". If so, each tram should have a maximum of ten people. Good luck implementing that. Supermarkets will remain open. Hopefully, the panic buying nonsense has stopped. There has also been no announcement that banks will close.

So what can you do cooped up in your homes for 30 days? Use that time to do household chores that you could never find time to do. Have you gone through your clothes and figured out which ones to give away? Are there any areas in the house that you would like to clean but didn't have time to do? Now is the time to cook for your family. Children who surely will be bored can now be taught to clean and cook and not just look at their phones all day. Online schooling takes effect anyway. You might want to clean the inside of your car which the carwash guys always miss. If you have a large garden then there is plenty to do. And for those with Netflix, now is the time to binge-watch everything you want.

In other words, a community quarantine is not that all bad if used properly. But parties or large gatherings are now prohibited. Some cities have decided to order the closure of malls. The mass has been suspended in many dioceses. The "veerus" has changed the way we live.

Take this time to also pray, not only for the country but for the whole world. We are not the only ones affected. This may be a good opportunity to strengthen one's faith in God. This crisis will eventually end. The world is more prepared to deal with this than it was in the days of the Spanish Flu and Bubonic Plague. We can only hope for a small toll on human life.

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