MANILA, Philippines – To prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus in the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the temporary lockdown of Metro Manila which will last from Sunday, March 15, until April 14.
Referred to as a "community quarantine" by government and health officials, the move limits the movement of people going in and out of the mega-city and puts in place stringent protocols on social distancing.
Domestic land, air, and sea travel to and from Metro Manila will be prohibited as a general rule.
A memorandum signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, by order of Duterte, on Friday, March 13, and shared with media on Saturday, clarifies the conditions of the lockdown and lists exceptions to the general rule.
Who can and can’t cross into Metro Manila?
THOSE WHO CANNOT ENTER METRO MANILA:
They include those 60-years-old and above, individuals immunocompromized or with co-morbidities, and pregnant women.
Experts earlier warned these individuals are more vulnerable to the coronavirus if they do not take extra caution to avoid those infected or sitauations that may put them at risk.
THOSE WHO CAN TRAVEL TO AND FROM METRO MANILA:
Under a general community quarantine – where the movement of people is limited to work and accessing basic necessities – Malacañang said all workers, whether employed or self-employed, will be "provisionally allowed to travel to and from" the capital region.
Individuals will need to present proof of employment and/or business at border checkpoints.
This will provision may be subject to review and changed by the Inter-Agency Task Force formed to combat the coronavirus if needed.
All departing passengers will be allowed to transit through Metro Manila, though they must present proof that they have confirmed international travel within 12 hours of entering the capital region.
This does not apply to areas where current travel restrictions are in place such as mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, where Filipino tourists are barred from traveling to. Filipinos are also restricted from traveling to North Gyeongsang Province, including Daegu City and Cheongdo County in South Korea.
Malacañang said cargo to and from Metro Manila will go unhampered.
Malacañang listed specific individuals exempted from the domestic travel ban. These people will be allowed to enter and exit Metro Manila:
OTHER MEASURES TAKEN UPON EXIT: All persons granted entry and exiting Metro Manila will be checked for signs and symptoms of the coronavirus at exit checkpoints, Malacañang said.
They will be issued “appropriate certification” by health authorities, which will endorse to local government units outside Metro Manila that they are safe to exit.
Those who exit the capital region will need to undergo a 14-day home quarantine, which will be monitored by their respective local government units.