‘Total lockdown’ in Metro Manila eyed
MANILA, Philippines — The government is looking at the possibility of implementing a total lockdown in Metro Manila as the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the country continues to climb, Malacañang said Monday.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, also the chief presidential legal counsel, said he and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año (DILG) are recommending to President Rodrigo Duterte the total lockdown during the meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases.
“Si Secretary Año ay yun din ang nirerekomenda. ‘Yan din ang nirerekomenda ko,” Panelo said in a press briefing when asked if a “total lockdown” is possible.
“Because this is a matter of national survival. We have to be resigned to that fact. This is a matter of life and death. The only way to stop this is for us to help ourselves,” he added.
Panelo said a “total lockdown” would mean the closure of all establishments, except for groceries and supermarkets, and the suspension of work.
“Kung ang magiging model mo Macau, ang total lockdown would be closing all of the establishments, it would mean also walang pasok lahat. Kumbaga lahat kayo nasa bahay,” Panelo explained.
(If you will base it on Macau, a total lockdown would be closing all of the establishments, it would also mean there is no work for everyone. Everybody would stay at home.)
“Hindi natin hihintuin ang pagpasok ng food supply kasi mahalaga yun e. And most likely, hindi saraduhin ang mga grocery at palengke. Kailangan nakabukas pa rin yun,” he added.
(We will not stop the entry of food supply because that’s important. And most likely, groceries and markets would remain open. They have to remain open.)
Panelo, however, noted that the decision on imposing a “total lockdown” would still depend on the President’s decision.
“We will give this to the President, sya ang magde-decide… So regardless of the suggestion, it will be the President who will be assessing it and evaluating it,” Panelo said.
Duterte, last Monday, announced that Metro Manila would be placed under a “community quarantine” from March 15, 2020 until April 14, 2020.
Meanwhile, land, domestic air, and domestic sea travel to and from Metro Manila are halted on the said period.
Health officials have so far recorded 140 cases, including 12 fatalities, related to COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus that first emerged in China’s city of Wuhan in Hubei province in late 2019.
The virus causes mild symptoms such as fever and cough for most people but can cause serious illness such as pneumonia for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems.
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