Duterte: ‘Too early’ for Metro Manila lockdown due to COVID-19 threat

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Amid coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), it is still too early for the government to declare a Metro Manila lockdown, President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday as he stated the country has “not reached that kind of contamination.”

“We have not reached that kind of contamination. Iisa-isa lang. With this transmission, you want to close down the economy at this time?” the President said during a late-night press briefing in Malacañang.

“There will be a time I suppose. I hope not. I hope God will have mercy on our… the Filipino people. There might be a time. Pero at this time, you want me to… It’s too early,” he said.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said earlier that it might be still “premature” to put Metro Manila under lockdown due to the virus threat, even as the government was trying to contain the local spread of the disease.

Duque told reporters in Malacañang that Health authorities still have to wait for proof of “sustained community transmission” before the government declares lockdown.

The government is finding a “balance” between economic needs and protecting public health, Duterte said.

“Hindi ko sinasabi na bakit hintayin mo ba magkasakit lahat? It’s not that. But you have to balance…Eh wala na magpasok ng bigas, walang magpasok ng mga gasolina, i-lock down mo, patay ang…” he said.

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