DILG: Keep students away from crowds
The Philippine National Police and barangay officials in the National Capital Region (NCR) have been tasked to make sure that students, whose classes have been suspended until April 12, will not spend their time loitering in malls, movie houses and other crowded places to lessen their risk of contracting the dreaded coronavirus.
In a statement, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) also advised residents to observe “stringent social distancing measures” for the next 30 days.
“To be clear, and to allay the fears and apprehension of the public, the government is essentially calling for a stricter implementation of preventive measures in order to slow down and put a halt to the further spread of COVID-19,” said Underscretary Jonathan Malaya, who is also DILG spokesperson.
President Duterte on Thursday night approved a recommendation from the Interagency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to place the country under Code Red Sublevel 2 following a declaration of a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The highest Code Red alert level was reached after the Department of Health found evidence of sustained community transmission, or when the cases reach a point that “surpasses the government’s ability to respond.”
The President on Thursday evening declared the entire Metro Manila area under “community quarantine.”According to the DILG, the WHO has warned the Philippine government that COVID-19 cases in the country could reach 75,000 if no drastic measures are implemented.
“(This is) because the virus spreads exponentially,” the DILG said.
The advisory explained that while experts deemed a total lockdown as a “valid preventive measure,” the country’s current circumstances do not allow such an “extreme course of action.”
The DILG clarified that the Office of the President would issue guidelines to thresh out the details of the presidential directive by Saturday, but a number of measures had been initially approved.
The declaration of community quarantine in Metro Manila extended the suspension of classes in all levels until April 12, directing the DILG to tap the PNP and the barangays in making sure that students do not loiter outdoors and join crowds.
On the other hand, local governments outside the NCR are empowered to “exercise sound discretion” in suspending classes in their areas.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.