Duterte urges nation not to panic as Metro Manila placed on lockdown

President Duterte has placed on “community quarantine” all 16 cities in Metro Manila and suspended classes in the metropolis til April 12 to prevent further spread of the dreaded COVID-19 disease.
The President made this announcement in a public address aired live on all broadcast networks, around 18 hours after the World Health Organization declared that the novel coronavirus has reached global pandemic level.
“Do not panic. Wag kayo masyado ma stress na hindi mo na magawa ang gusto mong gawin, pwede pa rin pero may mga restrictions tayo, mga conditions dahil sa crisis. Do not kill yourself with worry because the govt is doing everything possible to make it controllable,” said Duterte.
The 74-year-old Chief Executive underwent a COVID-19 diagnostic testing himself after his Cabinet ministers were exposed to a confirmed case. Despite showing no symptoms, his age as well as his medical history including myasthenia gravis, Buerger’s disease and Barrett’s esophagus made him more vulnerable to the the disease.
RELATED STORY: LOOK: Duterte undergoes COVID-19 testing
In his televised address, the President raised the country’s status to Code Red Sublevel Two (2) upon the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease.
Hours before the President’s address, social media is abuzz on the impending declaration of a lockdown — the same way China imposed in Hubei province and Italy for the entire nation.
But the inter-agency coined the lockdown into “community quarantine in the entirety of Metro Manila” in an apparent attempt to skirt a potential legal issue since there is no law allowing the government to declare a lockdown due to health concern.
Quarantine Act of 2004 allows the DOH to declare a community quarantine “in the event an outbreak of public health emergency of international concern in a community.”
When a community is placed under quarantine, the DOH has the power to arrest, detain, isolate suspects or cases.
As of this writing, there are 52 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, with two deaths. The latest fatality, Patient 35, is the first Filipino who died from COVID-19 and had no travel history but had other underlying issue.
READ ON: Health Department confirms 3 more COVID-19 cases in PH, total now at 52
Eight senators, including President Duterte’s sidekick Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, and six Cabinet secretaries have also placed under self quarantine. Most of Duterte’s Cabinet are also above 66 years — the age group with the Department of Health considers as more susceptible to experience complications if infected with COVID-19.
Aside from being elderly, COVID-19 is also more deadly for those who have underlying medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, chronic lung disease, and immunosuppression.

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