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14 Mar 2020 | 08:02 AM UTC

Philippines: Curfews imposed throughout National Capital Region amid COVID-19 outbreak as of March 15 /update 10

Officials to impose nighttime curfews across National Capital Region amid COVID-19 concerns as of March 15; follow authority directives

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Event

On Saturday, March 14, the mayors of Manilla's 16 cities (National Regional Capital) announced they would implement nighttime curfews, in efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The curfews will enter into effect on Sunday, March 15, until Sunday, April 12. The mayors will also issue the temporary closure of malls and establishments, with the exemption of shops offering essential services like groceries, banks and pharmacies.

On Thursday, March 12, President Rodrigo Duterte announced the suspension of all travel by land, sea, and air to and from Metro Manila. The restrictions will take effect as of Sunday, March 15, until at least Tuesday, 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.

As of March 14, the Philippines has 64 confirmed cases, six deaths, and two recoveries. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.

Context

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.

Advice

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.