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Duterte places entire Luzon under ‘enhanced community quarantine’

March 16, 2020 - Monday 6:03 PM by PNA

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MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday placed the entire Luzon under “enhanced community quarantine” effective immediately to control the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in the country.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo bared this without giving any further details as Duterte was expected to make a public address on government measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 after meeting with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

As of press time Monday, Duterte has still not made the public address.

Panelo said the IATF meeting was to correct the problems encountered during the first two days of the community quarantine, including commuters having difficulty getting rides due to the limited number of public utility vehicles (PUVs) on the road.

Under the memorandum signed by Malacañang on Friday, an “enhanced” community quarantine requires “strict” home quarantine in all households, suspends transportation, regulates food and essential health services, and heightens uniformed personnel’s presence to enforce quarantine procedures.

In an interview over ANC, Panelo said enhanced community quarantine refers to a "total lockdown."

“We have this community quarantine two days ago, we are just expanding it,” he said.

He explained that this means there will no longer be a need for the public to travel unless for “medical and humanitarian reasons”.

“It means we will have to stay at home. Work will be suspended. The general rule is there is a suspension of work,” he said.

As for government services, he said workers will remain on “skeletal force.”

Since the public will be forced to stay home, he gave assurance that food and essential needs will be delivered in homes care of the respective local government units (LGUs).

He said a provision for food and essential services will be regulated, meaning respective LGUs will have to create a system where food and essential needs will be delivered to the homes of the communities.

“In other words, we will not allow a rush to get food and supplies because there will be sufficient food and supply,” he said. PNA