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  • 'Just One Person To Buy Groceries': What Strict Home Quarantine Means For Your Family

    Work and public transport will be suspended to compel Filipinos to stay home.
    by Rachel Perez .
'Just One Person To Buy Groceries': What Strict Home Quarantine Means For Your Family
PHOTO BY iStock
  • Citing presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, III, CNN Philippines announced around 4 p.m. today, March 16, 2020, that President Rodrigo Duterte declared the entire Luzon to be under an "enhanced community quarantine" until April 12, 2020, and effective midnight of March 17, 2020.

    The President stressed that we don't have the "luxury of time to wait" and confirm the suspected COVID-19 cases in other provinces in Luzon. "I cannot go into a guessing game. I have to act, he said.

    "It will be an enhanced quarantine during which the movement of everyone will be significantly limited," President Duterte said during his pre-recorded press conference addressing the nation which was aired tonight, around 8 p.m.

    "Everyone will stay at home, leaving their houses only to buy food, medicine, and other necessary survival in the coming days. Only such establishments that provide these necessary services will remain open," President Duterte said.

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    What does an enhanced community quarantine mean

    Now that Luzon is under enhanced community quarantine, what does this mean for Filipino families? After the President addressed the nation, another press conference followed with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, PCOO Sec. Martin Andanar, Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Eduardo Año, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, and Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra present.

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    The group provided the details of the four main points of the enhanced community quarantine to strictly implement social distancing.

    1. Strict home quarantine is necessary for all households.

    Work in government and private sectors is limited to work from home setups. If such an arrangement is not possible, work should be suspended.

    The only exemptions include frontline health workers, authorized government officials, medical and humanitarian travels, and transport of basic necessities, provided they have proper identification.

    2. Only establishments that offer basic necessities will be open.

    These include public markets, supermarkets, convenience stores, hospitals, medical clinics, and drug stores, food preparation and delivery services, water refilling stations, manufacturing and processing plants of basic food.

    Only one person is allowed to go out for groceries. The LGU may provide transportation for its constituents. The citizen may use his private car so long as he only uses it going to the supermarket and back to his house.

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    Banks, money transfer, and essential services such as power, energy, water, and telecommunication shall also remain open. Many companies that provide basic services have waived late fee payments

    Malls will be closed, and restaurants can only accept take-home and delivery services. Dine-in is strictly prohibited.

    These companies will remain operational and should have a skeletal staff to provide services, as well as implement stringent social distancing measures.

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    3. Public transportation is suspended.

    All mass public transportation, such as MRT and LRT trains, jeepneys, and buses are suspended. All motorcycles are restricted to one passenger only. Angkas and Joyride have suspended operations except for deliveries. Transportation Network Vehicle Services (TNVS), such as Grab cars, also promised to comply.

    International flights will be allowed to leave Luzon only in the next 72 hours. Local transportation going out of Luzon is no longer permitted. All inbound Filipino citizens and residents and their families will be allowed entry subject to quarantine procedures.

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    Private vehicles are allowed to travel only if used by exempted individuals.

    4. Provisions for food and essential health services shall be regulated.

    The government appealed to the public to stop panic buying. Duterte stressed that LGUs, particularly the barangay captains and mayors, are required to determine the number of its constituents who are in need and distribute food and essential provisions to them.

    Moratorium on lease rentals, advancing employees' pro-rated 13th-month pay, are others suggested ways to help Filipinos tide through this month-long enhanced community quarantine.

    5. The heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce quarantine procedures.

    President Duterte stressed that the enhanced community quarantine is not martial law. But violators may face penalties for failure to report infected individuals. People who display resistance and disobedience to a person in authorities may be arrested and fined for Php100,000. Individuals who perform acts of violence. and crimes such as direct assault, is also subject to be fined for P200,000.

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    Philippine National Police (PNP) Spokesperson Bernard Banac said as far as the PNP is concerned, there is nothing new, except for the expanded coverage. "The biggest challenge will be the attitude of the public. Everybody will need to comply and follow social distancing, the policy of staying indoors, and restriction of movement," Banac told CNN Philippines.

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    Under the earlier imposed community quarantine, classes had been suspended in Metro Manila from March 15, 2020, until April 14, 2020. Domestic air and sea travel to and from Metro Manila had also been discontinued, but international travel to some countries are still allowed.

    Metro Manila had earlier been placed under a community quarantine. Among its policies include allowing workers who reside outside Metro Manila to cross borders so long as they show company identification or certification of employment. Public transportation, including trains, were allowed to continue operating as long as they provide strict social distancing measures.

    The enhanced community quarantine's stringent standards were due to the several issues authorities and citizens encountered earlier today, Day 2 and the first workday of the metro's community quarantine. Checkpoints, public transportation had long lines and social distancing or maintaining at least one meter apart from other people, was not observed.

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    For more updates on the novel coronavirus, click here.

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