MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte has imposed a month-long community quarantine in Metro Manila to stop the possibility that thousands of people might get infected with coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the country, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said on Saturday.
Placing the whole of Metro Manila under community quarantine from March 15 to April 14 was intended to “save lives,” DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said in an interview with dzMM.
“Mahirap man, masakit man, kailangan po nating gawin para to save lives ‘no (It might be difficult for us but we need to do this to save lives),” Malaya said.
Malaya issued the statement as he bared that the World Health Organization (WHO) cautioned that the number of Covid-19 cases in the Philippines might reach 75,000.
“Kinalampag na tayo ng WHO na kung hindi raw tayo gagawa ng drastic measures…baka umabot tayo sa 75,000 cases. At iyan, nakikita na natin iyong paggalaw (WHO warned us that if we fail to take drastic measures, there might be 75,000 cases in the country. And confirmed cases continue to rise). So, I think that’s the reason why the government ‘no, why the President declared this community quarantine,” he said.
The community quarantine in Metro Manila took effect on Sunday, restricting the movement of the people to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
People outside Metro Manila are barred from entering the region, unless they are workers, departing passengers, and individuals aboard vehicles carrying cargoes.
Metro Manila residents are also required to observe strict social distancing and avoid mass gatherings.
Stay at home
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año advised those living in Metro Manila to “stay at home” as much as possible.
Año said observing “self-quarantine” would be an effective way to stop the further spread of Covid-19.
“Ang gusto nating mangyari, umuwi na lang itong mga tao, mag-stay at home (What we want to happen is for people to just stay at home),” he said.
“Pinakamahirap sa lahat ‘yung hindi mo nakikita ‘yung virus at hindi mo alam kung sino infected, lalo na ‘yung asymptomatic (The challenge is we don’t see the virus and we don’t know who’s infected, especially if the person is asymptomatic).”
Not an absolute lockdown
Under the memorandum signed by Malacañang on Friday, the government can impose either a “general” or an “enhanced” community quarantine in Metro Manila.
The local government units are so far directed to impose a “general” community quarantine, which limits people’s movement to “accessing basic necessities and work” and directs uniformed personnel and quarantine personnel to be present at border points.
Meantime, an “enhanced” community quarantine requires “strict” home quarantine in all households, suspends transportation, regulates food and essential health services, and heightens uniformed personnel’s present to enforce quarantine procedures.
Año denied that there is an absolute lockdown in Metro Manila, saying that the movement of the people is merely “restricted.”
There could only be an absolute lockdown if “enhanced” community quarantine is implemented, he said.
To date, there are 111 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the Philippines. (PNA)