DOH says no need to lockdown yet Metro Manila over COVID-19 outbreak
The Department of Health ( DOH) said on Monday placing Metro Manila under lockdown is not warranted at this time despite rising number of confirmed cases of coronavirus disease.
In a press briefing in Malacanang, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said it is "premature" to lockdown the entire metropolis.
"Well, the protocol, in fact, includes that but it might be premature to do it at this point. So, we will have to wait until evidence of sustained community transmission is presented and that will trigger the community lockdown or community quarantine. It’s one of the interventions as reflected in our protocol, in our four-door response strategy," he said.
"There is also the option to suspend classes or work; there is also the option to make sure... let me just?to ensure that there is augmentation or preparedness on the part of unaffected regions, LGUs and also with uniformed personnel of the military and the PNP (Philippine National Police) to assist and to compliment the efforts or our local chief executives and local health officials in the affected communities," he added.
As to the suspension of classes, he reiterated it would be up to the discretion of the local chief executive.
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda has proposed a one-week lockdown of the National Capital Region to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
He recommended the implementation of suspension of classes, work stoppage, no bus trips, no domestic flights, and closure of the South Luzon Expressway and North Luzon Expressway and railways.
Duque's comment rejecting the lockdown was made when the confirmed COVID-19 cases were still 10.
But later in the afternoon, the Health department said that confirmed COVID-19 cases have risen to 20.
Duque said President Rodrigo Duterte has approved around P2 billion for the procurement of personal protective equipment.
In the same press briefing, Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon said the DOT will allocate approximately P6 billion to boost tourism.
He said the fund would "span international and domestic promotions, infrastructures and regional tourism development."
"From this budget, we will allocate approximately P85 million for training for COVID?19 orientation, preparedness, response and protocols for industry stakeholders. Our manpower development office will tweak our Filipino brand of service to include points on how to handle guest for COVID?19 and response. This will include integration of DoH guidelines in all training to be conducted moving forward," he added.
Duterte earlier urged the Filipinos to just visit other areas in the country to boost local tourism to compensate for the possible losses from international arrivals. Celerina Monte/DMS