MANILA: Curfews are in place in some parts of the Philippines’ capital region, Metro Manila, and public health measures have been increased ahead of the coronavirus lockdown, starting Sunday, amid a surge in coronavirus infections.
The Department of Health reported 111 coronavirus cases on Saturday, with the tally doubling overnight. Three more persons have succumbed to the disease, increasing the number of fatalities to eight.
“Our frontline health workers and medical personnel are risking their safety to respond to the needs of the public, all we ask is for you to do your part,” Health Secretary Duque III said as he requested cooperation from members of the public.
He added: “The success of our measures to contain Covid-19 is hinged on your participation. We will get through this together.”
Curfew are already in place in some parts of Metro Manila between 8:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. in a bid to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
Metro Manila comprises 16 cities — the capital, Quezon City, Makati, Parañaque, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Taguig, Pasay, Pasig, Marikina, San Juan, Caloocan, Navotas, Malabon, Valenzuela — and the municipality of Pateros. The region’s population is over 12.8 million.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday evening announced a “community quarantine” of the region, with land, domestic air and sea travel to be suspended from Sunday until April 14.
A task force composed of police, military and coast guard personnel and firefighters has been formed to ensure the orderly implementation of the Metro Manila lockdown.
“We are fighting a common but relatively unknown enemy, a dangerous and lethal virus known as Covid-19,” Justice Secretary Menardo
Guevarra said on Saturday, adding that the military will be on the streets “not to sow fear but to protect” residents.
“We are not in a state of martial law,” he stressed, adding: “So let us please cooperate and help each other until this public health emergency is over.”
The lockdown includes bans on mass gatherings such as screenings, concerts, sporting events, community assemblies and non-essential work-related gatherings.
Schools have been suspended until April 14.
Further movement restrictions, especially to members of risk groups, may be imposed by municipalities.