MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday expressed confidence that the strict implementation of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon would “effectively kill” the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
In his address to the nation, Duterte said the situation may be difficult now for the people from Luzon, but placing the entire island under enhanced community quarantine is the only way to step up the government’s battle against Covid-19 that continues to plague the country.
He allayed public concerns, saying that the Philippines is not the only country that has imposed an enhanced community quarantine, which is akin to total lockdown.
The President also assured that those living in Luzon could still enjoy their freedom because one member of each household is allowed to go outside of their homes when they need to buy basic necessities.
“We are not alone. But let our country lead the way in imposing a lockdown (that) is strict enough to effectively kill Covid-19, liberal enough so that our people will not die of hunger, and orderly enough so that our country will not be driven towards chaos during this difficult time,” he said.
Duterte on Monday night declared the imposition of an enhanced community quarantine in Luzon until April 12 to contain the spread of Covid-19.
The enhanced community quarantine mandates strict home confinement in all households, regulates provision for food and essential health services, suspends mass public transportation, and prohibits mass gathering.
Duterte appealed for his fellow Filipinos’ understanding, telling them that the government needs to take drastic measures to fight Covid-19.
“We are in a critical time. We have resorted to this extreme measure of an enhanced quarantine or quarantine for Luzon, because of the magnitude of the threat that we are facing calls for it,” he said. “By its nature, it severely restricts the freedom of movement of our countrymen, and thus deprives many people of the ability to earn a living for the coming weeks.”
Duterte also sought the cooperation of local government units (LGUs), as the national government intensifies its battle against Covid-19.
He said the national government would need the LGUs to stop the further spread of the infectious disease “for the better health” of Filipinos.
“In the coming days, we will need the help of the LGUs more and more. So I want to make this clear early on. Let us work together to implement this quarantine, and it should all begin with the LGUs making sure that your actions are consistent with the national directives,” Duterte said.
About 217 people in the Philippines have so far been infected with Covid-19.
The Department of Health reported 17 deaths of Covid-19 patients and the recovery of eight infected individuals. (PNA)