COVID-19: Duterte declares Metro Manila lockdown; no classes, domestic travel until mid-April

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday night addressed the nation, announcing that Metro Manila has been placed in a lockdown in an effort to control the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the country.

The country has already raised the alert level of the state of public health emergency to Code Red Sub-Level 2.

Speaking in a press conference, Duterte bared the stringent social distancing resolutions made by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).

He first announced the suspension of classes in all levels in both private and public schools throughout Metro Manila until April 12.

Public train systems — MRT, LRT, and PNR — will still continue operations but the transportation department should issue guidelines on proper social distancing measures.

The case will be the same for other forms of mass transportation. However, transport to and from Metro Manila, by land, sea (domestic), or air (domestic), shall be prohibited from March 15 to April 14.

This means provincial trips by bus, as well as those trying to enter NCR via flights or ferries, will be barred from accessing the metro.

The situation will be monitored daily by the IATC to see if they can be changes made.

Duterte also strongly recommended private employers to look into working from home as an option.

Mass gatherings are also prohibited.

As of Thursday, March 12, there are more than 50 confirmed coronavirus cases in the Philippines, most of which are in Metro Manila.

More are under investigation as the country continues to heighten precautionary and safety measures.