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12 Mar 2020 | 12:38 PM UTC

Philippines: Authorities to lock down Manila amid COVID-19 outbreak March 12 /update 9

President Duterte announces lockdown of Manila over coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak concerns March 12; all land, sea, and air travel to and from the capital to be suspended



On Thursday, March 12, President Rodrigo Duterte announced the suspension of all travel by land, sea, and air to and from Metro Manila over concerns from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. The restrictions will take effect as of Sunday, March 15, until at least April 14. Additionally, all public gatherings have been banned and the suspension of classes has been extended until April 12. Train services in the capital will remain operational throughout the lockdown period.

To date, there are over 50 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country and two fatalities.

Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.


The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.


Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.