Duterte declares ‘state of calamity’ in Philippines

Foreigners line up at the departure area of Manila's International Airport, Philippines on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 18 March 2020

Duterte declares ‘state of calamity’ in Philippines

  • The latest presidential declaration comes one week after Duterte announced a state of national emergenc
  • Duterte on Monday also announced an “enhanced community quarantine,” implementation of which was expanded from Metro Manila to the whole of Luzon island

MANILA: President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the Philippines under a state of calamity as confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country continue to rise.
Through a presidential proclamation signed on Monday and released on Tuesday, Duterte placed the entire country under a state of calamity for six months. It could be shortened or extended as circumstances warrant.
This will allow the national government and local government units (LGUs) access to quick response funds for use in their efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus and continue to provide services to affected populations.
The latest presidential declaration comes one week after Duterte announced a state of national emergency, followed days later by implementation of community quarantine in the entire Metro Manila area as the government takes tougher measures to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The proclamation notes though that despite government interventions, the number of confirmed cases continues to increase.
As of Tuesday evening, there were 187 confirmed cases, but many more are suspected. There have been 14 deaths, while six patients have recovered.
Under Proclamation 929, Duterte directed all government agencies and LGUs “to render full assistance to and cooperation with each other and mobilize the necessary resources to undertake critical, urgent and appropriate disaster response aid and measures in a timely manner to curtail and eliminate the threat of COVID-19.”
All law enforcement agencies, with the support of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, were directed to undertake all necessary measures to ensure peace and order in affected areas.
Duterte on Monday night also announced an “enhanced community quarantine” — similar to a total lockdown — implementation of which was expanded from Metro Manila to the whole of Luzon island, effective March 17 until April 12. Luzon is the largest island in the country, with a population of over 50 million.
With the enhanced community quarantine in effect, everyone will have to stay at home. Residents will be allowed to leave their homes only to buy food, medicine and other things necessary for survival.
Mass gatherings are banned, public transportation and schools are suspended, and all gateways from the mainland will be closed.
Outbound passengers coming from Luzon were given 72 hours from the start of the quarantine to leave the Philippines, after which international airports on the island will be closed.
Several LGUs in the Visayas archipelago and on Mindanao island have also imposed community quarantine to prevent the entry and transmission of coronavirus in their areas.
The US government has committed more than 139 million Philippine pesos ($2.7 million) to support the Philippine Department of Health in its response to coronavirus.
The US government, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), will collaborate with Philippine government counterparts to establish and implement internationally recognized infectious disease threat prevention and response strategies, and enhance infection control.
“US assistance will strengthen specimen transport systems and laboratory capacity to accurately and rapidly detect cases,” said the US Embassy in Manila.
“The assistance also will help protect health workers and patients by ensuring that hygiene products, masks, waste management supplies, and other necessary commodities are available, delivered, and managed appropriately.”


UK’s Prince Charles, 71, out of self-isolation and in good health

Updated 30 March 2020

UK’s Prince Charles, 71, out of self-isolation and in good health

  • British Prince tested positive for coronavirus after experiencing mild symptoms

LONDON: British heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, who had tested positive for coronavirus, is out of self-isolation after seven days and is in good health, his spokesman said on Monday.
Last week, his Clarence House office revealed that Charles, 71, had been tested after displaying mild symptoms of the virus and had been in self-isolation at his Birkhall home in Scotland where he had continued to work.
After consultation with his doctor, he is now out of self-isolation, Clarence House said. He will resume meetings and take exercise in accordance with government and medical guidelines.
However, his wife Camilla, who tested negative for coronavirus, will remain in self-isolation until the end of the week in case she too develops symptoms.
Buckingham Palace has previously said Queen Elizabeth, who left London for Windsor Castle on March 19 along with her 98-year-old husband, Philip, is in good health.