Last night, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte informed the public about the decision of our health officials to raise the Code Alert System for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the country to Code Red Sublevel 2.
Following discussions with health officials, as well as with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), the Chief Executive decided to approve the imposition of Stringent Social Distancing Measures in the National Capital Region (NCR) for thirty (30) days, with the salient directives discussed below.
1. The suspension of classes in all levels in Metro Manila is extended until April 12, 2020, with students remaining in their respective homes for the said duration.
2. Mass gatherings/events shall be prohibited during the aforesaid period.
3. Community quarantine is imposed in the entire Metro Manila. Local Government Units (LGUs) in other areas are advised to abide by the following guidelines:
• A barangay-wide quarantine is advised when there at least two (2) positive COVID-19 cases belonging to different households in the same barangay;
• A municipality/city-wide quarantine is advised when there at least two (2) positive COVID-19 cases belonging to different barangays in the same municipality/city;
• A province-wide quarantine is advised when there at least two (2) positive COVID-19 cases belonging to different municipalities, component cities or independent component cities in the same province; and
• LGUs, which have imposed community quarantine in their respective jurisdiction\s, upon the declaration of a State of Calamity, shall be allowed to access their Quick Response Fund.
4. Work in the Executive Branch shall be suspended during the same period, without prejudice to the formation of skeletal workforces by government agencies. The Congress and the Judiciary are encouraged to adopt the same policy. Law enforcement agencies, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, as well as health and emergency frontline services shall continue in full operation.
Fifth, flexible work arrangements shall likewise be encouraged in the private sector, following guidelines from the Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Trade and Industry designed to safeguard the welfare of the workers. All manufacturing, retail and service establishments are advised to remain in operation during the same period, provided that strict social distancing measures are observed.
6. Mass public transports, such as the Light Rail Transits, the Metro Rail Transits, and the Philippine National Railway shall continue in operation, following guidelines by the Department of Transportation.
7. Land, domestic air, and domestic sea travel to and from Metro Manila shall be suspended beginning March 15, 2020 and until April 14, 2020.
All the aforementioned measures shall be subject to daily monitoring and reassessment by the IATF.