Sec. Duque rejects lockdown of Metro Manila due to COVID-19

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Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Monday rejected calls to place Metro Manila on lockdown due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) threat, saying  it might be “premature.”

Duque said health authorities still have to wait for evidence of “sustained community transmission” before the government declares a lockdown.

This, even as the government sought to control the local transmission of the disease.

“These are some of the options being considered but it might be premature at this point,” Duque said during a press briefing in Malacañang.

“We will have to wait until evidence of sustained community transmission is presented. That will trigger the community lockdown or community quarantine as one of the interventions,” Duque  said.

Meanwhile, the Philippines is now preparing measures versus  community spread of the deadly COVID-19.

The cities of Marikina, Pasig, and Quezon have confirmed patients infected with COVID-19 in their respective areas on Monday.

Several cities also suspended classes as a precautionary measure against the spread of the virus.

“We need to respect the local chief executives’ decision to suspend classes and that must be followed by all concerned,” Duque said.

As of Monday, the Philippines confirmed 10 cases of COVID-19, including an incident of local transmission.

The development prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to place the country under a state of public health emergency to stop the spread of the pathogen that has killed 3,500 and infected 109,000 people worldwide./Stacy Ang

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