President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Monday, August 31, that Metro Manila would remain under general community quarantine (GCQ) until September 30 due to the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Bulacan (Central Luzon region) and Batangas (Calabarzon region) will also remain under GCQ whilst Bacolod City (Negros Occidental region) and Tacloban City (Leyte province) will revert to GCQ, having been under modified GCQ, bringing it into line with the rest of the country. Iligan City (Lanao del Norte province) will revert to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from Tuesday, September 1 due to rising COVID-19 cases there.
Under GCQ measures, public transport is allowed to operate at a reduced capacity, and some businesses may operate at between 50 to 100 percent of their capacity. From September 1, non-contact gyms, internet cafes, and grooming services will be allowed to operate in areas under GCQ. The wearing of face masks on public transport remains mandatory.
As of Tuesday, September 1, health authorities reported 220,219 COVID-19 nationwide and 3558 associated fatalities.
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). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhoea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
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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