Friday, March 20, 2020


‘Filipinos told to stay home’

THE PHILIPPINES is now in a virtual lockdown with local governments imposing community quarantine in an effort to battle the spread of the deadly coronavirus disease, or Covid-19, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December.

The Department of Health, or DOH, said dozens of people have been infected with the disease with over a dozen dead and with no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the Covid-19.

To further prevent the spread of the disease, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said they launched the DOH COVID-19 emergency hotlines 02-894-COVID (02-89426843) and 1555 in partnership with the National Emergency Hotline of the Department of Interior and Local Government, PLDT and Smart Communications Inc.

Duque said callers can ask questions if they suspect they are infected with COVID-19, or request assistance if they have symptoms or known exposure to confirm cases or patients under investigation. The information collected from emergency calls is transmitted to the COVID-19 Emergency Operations Center and other relevant agencies for immediate facilitation and response, he said.

“As we enhance our efforts to contain this disease, we are working with both the public and private sectors, which can provide the facilities and the technical expertise to address the many challenges that we face each day.”

“We expect an influx of calls in the first few days of the launch of the call center. We ask for the public’s cooperation and patience to allow only relevant and important calls to go through.  In that way, we can provide timely medical assistance to those who really need it,” Duque said.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed Proclamation Number 929 declaring a “State of Calamity” throughout the country for a period of six months. And he also placed the entire region of Luzon under an “Enhanced Community Quarantine” from March 17 up until April 12.

“The impositions may be lifted or extended as circumstances may warrant. The President has also directed all government offices, law enforcement agencies and local government units to mobilize all necessary resources to curtail and eliminate the spread of COVID-19,” said Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo.

Duterte also declared a unilateral ceasefire against the communist rebel New People’s Army, and the Communist Party of the Philippines and its political wing, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines from March 19 to April 15.

He ordered the police and military not to launch offensives against the rebel group, blamed for the spate of attacks on civilian and government targets across the country.

“Through this ceasefire, the Philippine government aspires that the swift provision of public health assistance goes unimpeded and that the movement of health workers and medical supplies to communities, as well as of people in need of immediate medical attention, remains unhampered,” Panelo said. (Mindanao Examiner)

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