Duterte orders suspension of classes in Metro Manila until March 14 due to COVID-19 threat
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered on Monday night to suspend classes in all levels for five days until March 14 in Metro Manila as cases of coronavirus disease in the country have increased to 24.
The directive was made after Duterte met with the mayors in the National Capital Region in Malacañang.
"The infection, the transmission is going on because there are new additional (cases) from 20 plus four, it's 24," he said in a press conference.
"So that is how bad it is. So we have decided, to the clamor also (of) the mayors, probably much worried than we here, so there is a consensus that - by the body that classes will be suspended in NCR, National Capital Region only, beginning tomorrow and it will end in March 14," he added.
Duterte noted that the incubation period for COVID-19 could reach 14 days.
He said the government has to keep the children safe and to establish a benchmark of how many more cases could be added.
He said the government could know if suspension of classes could somehow reduce the number of victims, "if we keep our children sequestered at home and study there."
While classes are suspended, the President said Education Secretary Leonor Briones wants the children to continue studying at home.
He said the policemen would be deployed to ensure that no children would be roaming around during the days when there are no classes.
"If they are there, they will be escorted to the parents and for the parents to be lectured of their responsibilities being a parent. That their children should study even while they are detained in their respective homes," he explained.
"We are trying to avoid losses especially lives and that is why we met this afternoon," he said.
After March 14, Duterte said there will be another meeting to discuss the next action to be taken.
Duterte said the additional four COVID-19 cases came from West Crame, San Juan, Santa Maria in Bulacan, and Project 6 in Quezon City.
Like the position of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, the President said there was no need to lockdown Metro Manila as suggested by Albay Representative Joey Salceda.
He said the COVID-19 cases were not that many.
Duterte reiterated not to blame the Chinese for the COVID-19.
"You know, there are Chinese as there are Filipinos in China also affected. And we have something like 300,000 in Hong Kong. We do not have the accurate number of Filipinos working in the mainland China. So the irresponsible reporting as if we are blaming everything against the Chinese," he said. Celerina Monte/DMS