On Tuesday, May 12, the Philippine government announced that Metro Manila, Cebu City, and Laguna province will be placed under a new modified enhanced community quarantine with eased restrictions from Saturday, May 16, through Sunday, May 31, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The original stay-at-home order will be relaxed, and individuals may leave their homes to buy necessities or travel to work in essential industries approved by the government. Additionally, certain manufacturing industries will be allowed reopen at 50 percent capacity. Supermarkets, healthcare, pharmacies, and food manufacturing companies will remain in operation. Transportation is allowed but limited for essential work and services. However, districts (barangays) with 20 or more COVID-19 cases will be considered as "critical zones" and remain under the original enhanced community quarantine; those with lesser cases will be considered "containment zones" and will be under the new modified enhanced community quarantine. Districts located near areas with confirmed COVID-19 cases are classified as "buffer zones" and will be placed under a general community quarantine. Individuals in these areas may move around for work and essential services; government offices and more industries can operate at 75 per cent capacity.
The government has advised those aged above 60 and individuals with pre-existing medical conditions not to leave their homes. Many local government administrations have also announced overnight curfews, most commonly between 20:00 to 05:00 (local time). Individuals who must leave their homes will need to bring along the identification documents as stipulated by authorities, to be presented at the checkpoints. Security forces have been deployed to ensure compliance with the lockdown measures, and authorities have ordered the police and military to open fire at individuals who do not abide by the controls.
Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) has resumed international flight arrivals from Monday, May 11, but will operate with a cap on passenger arrivals. International charter flights will be permitted to land on Mondays and Thursdays while commercial flights will be permitted to land on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays with permission from CAAP 48 hours prior to departure. The new measures will remain in place at MNL until Wednesday, June 10. As a precautionary measure, all foreign nationals have been banned from entering the country since Sunday, March 22. Returning Filipino nationals are required to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
As of May 13, there have been 11,350 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 751 associated fatalities in the country. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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