Courts to remain open during quarantine—Supreme Court says

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The judiciary will continue operations with some adjustments, even as Metro Manila goes under community quarantine for a month in order  to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a Supreme Court justice said on Friday.

The  judiciary will remain open, Associate Justice Marvic Leonen said after a meeting of justices at the Supreme Court.

“The Judiciary will not shut down. It has a public duty to fulfill specifically to ensure the rule of law even in times of crisis,” Leonen said in a tweet.

“Operations, however, will be adjusted to deal with the health concerns of the public as well as the welfare of judicial personnel,” Leonen also said.

Supreme Court justices held a special meeting at the Supreme Court in Manila Friday amid President Rodrigo Duterte’s announcement  last Thursday evening  that Metro Manila would be placed under “community quarantine” from March 15 to April 14 in a bid to contain the virus.

The Supreme Court Public Information Office (PIO) said guidelines on the judiciary’s response to the pandemic will be released later.

Duterte declared the capital region’s quarantine as at least 52 cases, mostly patients from the metro, have been confirmed, with 49 reported just over the past week.

Five patients have already died.

Under the quarantine, land, domestic air and sea travel to and from Metro Manila will be restricted, while the executive branch will suspend work.

Government also recommended the private sector to follow work-from-home schemes and discouraged mass gatherings./Stacy Ang

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