The killer in Manila: Philippine capital city is locked down, schools are closed and mass gatherings banned to stop coronavirus spread
- President Rodrigo Duterte announced strict immigration curbs and a halt on domestic land, sea and air travel to and from Manila
- The firebrand leader underwent a test himself this week due to possible exposure from attening the same event as an official who later tested positive
- The Philippines’ Department of Health has so far confirmed 49 cases of the deadly coronavirus in the country, with at least 2 recorded fatalities
- Coronavirus has been classed as pandemic by the World Health Organization
- At least 125,000 patients have been infected worldwide and over 4,000 have died since the outbreak began last December
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced strict immigration curbs and a halt on domestic land, sea and air travel to and from Manila, in what he called a ‘lockdown’ of the capital to arrest the spread of coronavirus on Thursday.
Rodrigo approved a resolution allowing a raft of measures – including bans on mass gatherings, a month of school closures and community quarantining, and threatened to jail local officials who defied government orders.
The firebrand leader, who underwent a test himself this week due to possible exposure, said the measures would include banning foreigners travelling from countries with domestic transmissions from entering the Philippines.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced strict immigration curbs and a halt on domestic land, sea and air travel to and from Manila to arrest the spread of coronavirus on Thursday (firefighters pictured spraying water at a school yard in the capital on Wednesday)
The Philippines has appeared to follow in the footsteps of Italy as the European country implemented a nationwide lockdown in a desperate bid to contain the spread of COVID-19 earlier this week.
The news follows confirmation on Saturday of the Philippines’ first domestic transmission of the virus, and a subsequent rise in cases daily to 52, among those five deaths, resulting in the Manila lockdown.
‘We do not want to use that (term). But it is a lockdown,’ Duterte said in a televised announcement.
‘There is no struggle of power here. It is a matter of defending and protecting you from COVID-19.’
Inmates are seen wearing face masks to protect against COVID-19 inside Manila City Jail on Thursday
Rodrigo (pictured last May) approved a resolution allowing a raft of measures – including bans on mass gatherings, a month of school closures and community quarantining
The curbs on travel and scope for mass quarantining would be among the strictest domestic coronavirus restrictions outside China and Italy, which have combined more than 90,000 confirmed cases.
Last week, the politician attended the same event as an official who later tested positive for the coronavirus, and will know his result on Saturday.
Six cabinet ministers, 16 lawmakers, six Manila mayors and the central bank governor were undergoing self-quarantine as a precaution.
Despite having relatively few confirmed infections, health authorities are keen to halt the spread of the virus, having last year dealt with major outbreaks of dengue and measles, and the first cases of polio in two decades.
The politician has threatened to jail local officials who defied government orders (prisoners pictured attempting to protect themselves from COVID-19)
The biggest concern is Manila, an urban sprawl of 16 cities fused together, known for its overcrowded slums, limited open spaces and horrendous traffic congestion.
Its population is officially nearly 13 million, but the real number is believed to be far greater due to unchecked migration and millions of informal settlers.
The resolution advises quarantining urban communities where there are confirmed cases in two separate households, and extending that to municipalities and cities where there are outbreaks in different districts.
Duterte said it was possible the measures ‘could create public disturbances or disorder’, but hoped people would see sense.
‘It is a serious one, it is true,’ he said. ‘Do not kill yourself with worry because government is doing everything possible to make it at least controllable.’
The Philippines has followed in the footsteps of Italy as the European country implemented a nationwide lockdown in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19 this week (Genoa pictured o Thursday)
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