As part of measures to contain Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the country, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the lockdown of Metro Manila from March 15 to April 14, 2020.
Duterte made the announcement in his address to the nation around 9:00 PM of Thursday. He said that air, sea and land travel to and from Metro Manila will be banned starting Sunday.
The LRT, MRT and the Philippine National Railways, however, will continue operation, with the Transportation Department tasked to issue guidelines to ensure social distancing on the trains.
The President also advised the Filipinos not to panic, but follow the advice of medical experts, especially those from Department of Health (DOH).
“Ang pinaka importante ang Department of Health. Kung anong iutos nila para sa atin, susundin talaga natin. It’s the medical experts who can help us. Listen to them. It’s important to give credence to what Health Secretary Duque says,” Duterte said.
Aside from the lockdown, Duterte also extends the suspension of classes in all levels in Metro Manila until April 12. However, students should continue to fulfill their requirements.
Duterte also ordered a “community quarantine” in Metro Manila, with barangay captains taking the lead in the implementation.
“I do not have enough policemen and soldiers to cover every inch of the country. Ang meron ako, barangay captains. They are bound by the rules written here,” he said.
Duterte also ordered the suspension of work in the executive branch April 12, except for a skeletal workforce to ensure continuous delivery of services to the public. The legislative and judicial branches of government are encouraged to also adopt the same policy.
For those in private sector, he encouraged flexible work arrangements.
Duterte made the nationwide address after DOH reported 3 additional positive COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 52.