President Duterte orders enhanced community quarantine across the entire Luzon

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the entire island of Luzon to be placed on “enhanced community quarantine,” as cases of the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) continue to rise.

Under the enhanced community quarantine to go on until midnight (00:00) of April 13, 2020, the movement of all citizens will be limited. Strict home quarantine shall be implemented in all households. The private sector is encouraged to suspend work. To prevent panic buying, groceries, supermarkets, clinics, and pharmacies will remain open.

To further discourage the public from leaving their homes, public transportation shall be suspended. Provisions for food and essential services shall be regulated and provided by Local Government Units (LGUs). The heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce quarantine procedures will also be implemented across the entirety of Luzon.

The move is in response to the large percentage of the populace that still continued to attempt to enter Metro Manila and go to work despite the implementation of community quarantine last Sunday and today. Commuters had formed large crowds at terminals and stations as social distancing was implemented in all forms of public transport. Long queues formed at the city's border checkpoints filled with citizens eager to enter Metro Manila to get to work.

President Duterte's decision comes after several proposals to implement a total lockdown of Metro Manila to mitigate the spread of the virus.

In Bullet Points

  • Enhanced Community Quarantine in effect over entire Luzon starting March 17, 2020 at 12:00AM until April 13, 2020 at 12:00 AM.
  • No non-essential personnel on the streets at all times. Exempted are health care workers, peace and order officers, workers from the night shift of the processing zones with valid ID’s, and LGU officers.
  • All forms of mass public transportation are suspended.
  • Classes at all levels are suspended.
  • Malls are ordered closed for the duration of the executive order.
  • Restaurants are discouraged from operating. Dine-in is strictly prohibited. Only accept take-home and delivery services.
  • Only essential services like law and order, utility services, media, food processing, medical industries, and export-related industries, BPOs may remain open and operational. These services are encouraged to provide temporary accommodations for their employees by March 18, 2020.
  • Bank ATMs, groceries, supermarkets, public markets, pharmacies, hospitals will remain open.
  • Public assemblies, whether local, cultural or religious, are prohibited.
  • Loitering in the streets at any time of the day is discouraged.
  • Public playgrounds, basketball courts, beaches, and public parks will be closed.
  • Public utility offices, Bayad centers, and related financial services will remain open.
  • Failure to abide will warrant charges filed against the erring individual.
  • Continued enforcement of quarantine will be evaluated on a day to day basis.

Provinces leading by example

While Metro Manila was on community quarantine, several provinces have decided to take it a step further in the name of public health. Yesterday, the Province of Batangas has banned the entry of non-residents and non-workers into the province to further inhibit the spread of the COVID-19.

Governor Hermilando Mandanas has stated to the media that starting March 15, Batangas would require sea and land passengers entering the province to provide proper identification before being issued a ticket. “There shall be no selling of tickers for non-workers going to and passing through Batangas province,” said the governor.

COVID-19: Luzon now on

Today, the Province of Cavite has also issued an executive order placing the entire province under community quarantine that includes curfew between 8 PM to 5 AM daily.

Home quarantine

Under the Executive Order number 10 – series of 2020, “all citizens are ordered to stay inside their homes and may only come out to work, purchase medicines or basic necessities, seek medical consultation/ care at hospitals, or take out garbage.”

Shopping malls shall be closed, with the exemption of establishments that provide essential services like banks, pawnshops, groceries and supermarkets, drug stores, utility companies, payment centers and hardware stores. Restaurants shall only be permitted to operate by providing a take out and home delivery only.

Again, leisure rides, midnight food runs, and other non-important travel are strictly prohibited.