Duterte to remain in Manila during COVID-19 ‘lockdown’


President Rodrigo Duterte will stay in Manila, even as the government  imposes a month-long “lockdown”  or “quarantine” in  Metro Manila,  to oversee government measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Malacañang said on Friday.

Duterte’s Cabinet will also hold a meeting “every day” to assess the coronavirus outbreak, Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

“Yes, he announced it last night (Thursday) that his wife wanted him to fly back (to Davao) but he said ‘no, the face of the country is Manila and the President had to be here so I’ll be here,'” Panelo said during  ANC’s Dateline Philippines when asked if the President plans to return to his hometown.

The President is “okay” following his test for COVID-19 on Thursday, Panelo said.

Results will be released publicly after 48 hours, Panelo also said.

Duterte took a  COVID-19 test as top officials went on self-quarantine.

Duterte, on Thursday, said Metro Manila would be placed under “community quarantine”   or “lockdown” which will prohibit travel to and from the region from March 15 to April 14, following “sustained community transmission.”

“The President had to undertake stringent measures because he’s expecting a spike.  He wants to see how effective these measures would be,” Panelo said.

“All we have to do really si observe protocols, personal hygiene, keep washing your hands… distance yourself from the person near you. That’s a very simple task to do,” he said.

As of Thursday evening, there were 52 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines. Five have died and two have recovered.

The Department of Health  (DOH) has raised the highest Code Red Sub-level 2 after the country earlier declared a state of public health emergency.

The virus outbreak, which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has killed some 4,900 people and infected 130,000 others worldwide, prompting the World Health Organization to declare a global pandemic, reports have revealed./Stacy Ang

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