Metro Manila's community quarantine now extends to the whole of Luzon. It was announced earlier this afternoon by presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo that the entire region of Luzon will be under "enhanced community quarantine" to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus or COVID-19.
The recently implemented community quarantine in Metro Manila is a general community quarantine, which limits the movement to and from the area. The quarantine began yesterday, March 15.
A memo from the Office of the President was released earlier this evening on the guidelines of an enhanced community quarantine. Panelo made clarifications through TV interviews earlier today. President Rodrigo Duterte has also addressed the nation once again in this time of COVID-19.
As per the memorandum, the quarantine will take effect from March 17 (12:00 a.m.) until April 13 (12:00 a.m).
Classes and all school activities in all levels shall continue to be suspended until April 14, 2020.
If you’re wondering what this stringent quarantine entails, here’s what’s allowed—and what’s not—during this region-wide quarantine:
1. NOT ALLOWED: Mass gatherings.
2. NOT ALLOWED: Heading out to engage in non-essential activities.
A strict home quarantine shall be observed, and movement shall be limited to accessing basic necessities. If you need to buy necessities, only one person is encouraged to buy for the family. The general rule is "stay at home," Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles says.
3. ALLOWED: Working from home.
A work-from-home setup shall be implemented in the executive branch except the PNP, AFP, PCG, and health and emergency frontline services or border control and other critical services.
For businesses, a skeletal workforce is highly encouraged to be implemented.
4. ALLOWED: Operations of establishments relating to food and medicine production, and other basic necessities.
These include as banks, money transfer services, power, energy, water and telecommunication supplies and facilities.
Sec. Nograles clarifies that restaurants are allowed to operate but only via delivery services.
5. NOT ALLOWED: Mass public transportation.
This includes LRT, MRT, jeepneys, taxis, and buses.
6. NOT ALLOWED: Land, air, and sea travel. These will be restricted accordingly:
Outbound passengers from any of the international airports in Luzon shall be allowed travel of 72 hours from the effectivity of the enhanced community quarantine.
Inbound passengers shall be allowed entry subject to applicable quarantine procedures of the IATF.
7. ALLOWED: Media personnel travel within the quarantine area.
This is provided that they secure an identification card from the Presidential Communications Operations Office.
The memorandum also mentions that the government will roll out programs for the social amelioration of affected workers and residents of the areas affected by enhanced community quarantine, such as moratorium on lease rentals, pro-rated 13th month pay, reprieve from utility bills, and SME assistance.
As of writing, there are 142 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 12 fatalities in the Philippines. The country's COVID-19 alert level was raised to Code Red Sub-Level Two last March 9, 2020, following the continued spread of the virus.
*This is a developing story. Stay tuned for more updates.
For more stories on COVID-19, please click here.