Metro Manila will undergo “community quarantine” as directed by President Rodrigo Duterte starting March 15, Sunday, until April 14 to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to other provinces.
The novel coronavirus has infected 52, including 5 deaths.
Here’s what you need to know about the community quarantine:
- It will be imposed starting midnight of March 15, 2020, until April 14, confirmed by Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.
- During the community quarantine, travel in and out Metro Manila is prohibited to contain the disease from spreading.
- Classes in all levels and work in the executive branch are suspended. The public is barred from holding mass gatherings.
- Private companies are encouraged to adopt a “work-from-home scheme.”
- Land, domestic air, and domestic sea travel to and from Metro Manila are suspended until April 14. However, it will be under daily review by the Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
- The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) will remain open for international flights but passengers must be from and are going to stay in Metro Manila. For those who will go to the provinces, passengers must fly via the Clark International Airport, Nograles said.
- Foreigners coming from countries with confirmed local transmission of COVID-19 shall be denied entry to the Philippines, according to President Rodrigo Duterte. Exempted from this rule however are foreign spouses and children of Filipinos, holders of permanent resident visas, and holders of diplomatic visas issued by the Philippine government.
- Mass public transports, particularly train lines such as the Light Rail Transit (LRT), Metro Rail Transit (MRT), and Philippine National Railways (PNR) are available means of transportation throughout the community quarantine period provided that these transportation means should adopt “social distancing guidelines.”
- Classes in all levels are suspended until April 12 in Metro Manila. However, it may be extended depending on the review.
- For Metro Manila, the Department of Education said schedules of graduation rites and moving up ceremonies, originally scheduled on April 13 to 17, will be moved or rescheduled.
- Work in the executive branch of government is suspended until April 14 but agencies are required to maintain skeletal workforces to maintain the delivery of public service. The health and emergency frontline services will remain to function.
- The public can still transact with government offices such as PhilHealth, GSIS, and SSS even if these agencies will maintain skeletal workforces.
- No need for “panic buying.” Cabinet Secretary said Metro Manila residents should not be worried about goods and food supplies. The public is discouraged from hoarding.
- Transport of goods in and out of Metro Manila and other regions will remain subject to guidelines.
- DTI secretary Ramon Lopez said that the department imposed a 60-day price freeze over basic commodities, medicine and medical supply, and some agricultural products. There will be no business disruption during the period.
- Planned or spontaneous mass gatherings are prohibited. There will be no Holy Mass and public activities in all churches covered by the Archdiocese of Manila starting March 14 to March 20.
- Authorities urged malls and shop operators to limit the number of people inside establishments and observe social distancing protocol to prevent the possible spread of the virus.
- Workers outside Metro Manila can still go to work provided that they present supporting documents, such as company ID, that prove employment in the region.
- Patients taking medical treatment in Metro Manila will need to present proof such as a medical certificate for them to enter.
- All Filipinos overseas can return to the country, said President Duterte.
- Due to the community quarantine period, DTI secretary Lopez said that there should be a refund for availed events/services affected.
According to authorities, the Interagency Taskforce on COVID-19 will have a meeting on Friday afternoon for clearer guidelines. Changes may be made following the said meeting.