MANILA, Philippines — Alarmed by the rising cases of coronavirus in the country, President Rodrigo Duterte has on Thursday night approved the entire Metro Manila to be put under “community quarantine” as the national government scrambles for ways to contain the spread of the deadly disease.
Imposition of the community quarantine in the National Capital Region (NCR) was acted upon by the Chief Executive as recommended by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
It was approved by the Chief Executive in a meeting in Malacañang Thursday night.
It was gathered that travel by land, domestic air, and domestic sea to and from NCR will be suspended starting March 15, 2020, until April 14 or exactly one month.
Malacanang also advised local government units outside Metro Manila to follow the following guidelines in imposing localized community quarantine in their respective jurisdictions:
-A barangay-wide quarantine when there are at least two COVID-19 cases belonging to different households in the same barangay
-A municpality/city-wide quarantine when there are at least two COVID-19 cases belonging to different barangays in the same municipality/city
-A province-wide quarantine when there are at least two COVID-19 cases belonging to different municipalities, component cities or independent component cities in the same province.
-LGUs which have imposed community quarantine will be allowed to access their Quick Response Fund upon declaration of a State of Calamity
Similarly, the President also banned mass gatherings or the “planned or spontaneous event where the number of people attending could strain the planning and response resources of the community hosting the event.”
At the present, PH has 52 confirmed cases of COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus that first emerged in China’s city of Wuhan in Hubei province in late 2019.
A vast majority of the confirmed cases were admitted to different hospitals across the capital region.
Worldwide, the virus has infected more than 125,000 people and killed 4,600 across 115 countries. More than 62,000 people have recovered from the virus.
The World Health Organization has now labelled COVID-19 a pandemic.
AS this developed, the government also upgraded its 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) alert from Code Red Sublevel 1 to Sublevel 2.
A Code Red Sublevel 2 is hoisted when there is evidence of community transmission and prevalence of cases beyond what the government can address.
The Department of Health (DOH) first raised Code Red Sublevel 1 last Saturday after it reported the country’s first case of local transmission of COVID-19 — a 62-year-old man — with no recent travel history contracted the disease. His wife, who is 59 years old, also tested positive for the disease.
The first case of local transmission also prompted the government to declare a state of public health emergency.
The resolution submitted by the task force was read by President Duterte on national television with the premise that he would turn it into an executive order to make it enforceable.
For government work in the executive branch, suspension will likewise be in place for a period of 30 days, though agencies may form skeletal workforces to ensure government services continue. Only offices in Metro Manila are covered by the order.
It was reported that health and emergency services are not covered by the pronouncement, and will continue in full operation.
Legislative and judicial offices are “encouraged” to adopt the policy.
For workers in the private sector, the task force encouraged all private business in Metro Manila to observe flexible working arrangements.
However, all manufacturing, retail, and service establishments were advised to remain operational, provided employers put in place strict social distancing measures. (IAMIGO/sovereignph.com)