By Genalyn Kabiling
With the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in effect in Luzon, the government announced Wednesday that it will allow only one person per household to leave their homes to buy food and other essentials.
Luzon residents, especially senior citizens and others at risk, must stay at home and not loiter as part of measures to curb the spread of the disease, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said.
The “mandatory home quarantine” is included in the list of dos and don’ts on the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon released by the government.
“Only one person per household would be allowed to buy/access basic necessities. Barangay captains to check compliance,” Nograles said in the “Laging Handa” public briefing Wednesday.
He is the spokesperson of the inter-agency task force for the management of emerging infectious diseases.
According to Nograles, the government would enforce a “mandatory home quarantine for everyone” to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
“Everyone must stay at home. No classes at all levels. No reporting for work in government and private sector except for some exceptions,” he said.
The government has also prohibited people “most vulnerable,” particularly seniors aged 60 and above, those with pre-existing medical condition like cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cancer, from leaving their homes.
“Do not ask non-exempted individuals to accompany you to your work place,” Nograles said. “Do not loiter.”
The government has also advised the public not to intimidate or resist persons in authority. “Always remain calm and respectful,” Nograles said.
Persons allowed to go outside
The government has exempted certain persons from the strict home quarantine measures.
Allowed to go out of their homes are employees of establishments involved in the production, processing, and distribution of food and other basic necessities such as supermarkets, groceries, convenience stores, wet markets, pharmacies and drug stores, banks, and remittance centers; military, police, and other uniformed personnel; personnel involved in health work, border control, emergency, and other mission-critical services; and media with authorization from the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).
“The provisional period of 72 hours granted to media personnel to continue operating in Luzon is hereby extended until March 21, 2020. Thereafter, only those who bear the IATF accreditation ID as issued by the PCOO may be exempted from the strict home quarantine requirement,” Nograles said.
People venturing out of their homes must always bring identification card, proof of residence, certificate of employment, delivery receipt for those transporting goods, and other authorizations or certifications issued by government offices and present them at designated checkpoints.
Establishments allowed to stay open
The government has allowed establishments providing basic utilities such as water, power, internet and telecommunications, as well as critical services like garbage collection, funeral and interment services, and gasoline stations to remain open.
Capital markets are permitted to open effective March 18, Nograles said.
Business process outsourcing and export-oriented establishments are allowed to operate as long as temporary housing is provided for employees.
Casinos and gambling places, including Philippine offshore gaming operators, are not allowed to open.
Hotels shall not accept any new bookings.
President Duterte earlier expanded the month-long quarantine in Metro Manila to cover the entire main island of Luzon to contain the coronavirus pandemic. He has sought the cooperation of Luzon residents in the “extraordinary war” against the deadly virus.
“Our response therefore, is to not leave any quarter to our enemy, by preventing close contact. The only way to ensure this effectively, at this time, is to put in effect the enhanced quarantine that I have described, to last until April 12 or earlier once we acquire further information warranting the relaxation of these measures,” he said.