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  • Important! Palace Releases Latest Guidelines On Social Distancing And Who Can Enter NCR

    The community quarantine will start on Sunday on March 15, 2020.
    by Kitty Elicay .
Important! Palace Releases Latest Guidelines On Social Distancing And Who Can Enter NCR
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  • This is a developing story

    The Office of the President released today, March 14, 2020, updated guidelines on the community quarantine that will begin in Metro Manila on March 15, 2020 until April 14, 2020 to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

    The measures, drafted by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), aim to iron out details and clarify some of the points included in the directive announced by President Rodrigo Duterte on March 12.

    The guidelines include stricter implementation of social distancing, the prohibition of mass gatherings, and restrictions that will be imposed during the community quarantine. (Read here if you have questions about work, food supply, and the travel ban during the quarantine period.)

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    Social distancing

    According to the guidelines, if you have to be with people, make sure to stay one meter apart. Mass gatherings such as movie screenings, concerts, sporting events and other entertainment activities, community assemblies, and non-essential work-related gatherings shall be prohibited.

    Essential work-related meetings and religious activities may continue so long as strict social distancing, defined as the strict maintenance of a distance of at least one (1) meter radius between and among those attending, is maintained during the entirety of the event.

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    Community quarantine restrictions

    Many wondered what exactly community quarantine means for Metro Manila residents. According to the guidelines, it is defined as a condition where movement of people shall be limited to accessing basic necessities and work; and uniformed personnel and quarantine officers shall be present at border points.

    The resolution also identifies those who are at high risk of being infected.

    • Individuals 60 years old and above
    • Immunocompromised or with co-morbidities (those with preexisting medical conditions)
    • Pregnant women

    Thus, the community quarantine will restrict the non-essential-entry of people to Metro Manila, especially for those who are at high risk. Those exempted from this are:

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    • Health workers
    • Authorized government officials
    • Those traveling for medical or humanitarian reasons
    • Persons transiting to airports for travel abroad
    • Persons providing basic services and utilities
    • Essential skeletal workforce

    As mentioned, workers residing in nearby provinces and cities but who are employed in Metro Manila will be allowed entry, provided they present proof of employment (like employee IDs) or business at border checkpoints. (Read more about it here.)

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    The government will also restrict the non-essential exit of people from Metro Manila except for the following:

    • Health workers
    • Authorized government officials
    • Those travelling for medical or humanitarian reasons

    Those who are granted entry based on the above-mentioned provisions may also leave but they must be checked for signs and symptoms (fever, respiratory symptoms, diarrhea) at exit checkpoints. They will also be issued appropriate certification by the Department of Health (DOH) or a provincial/city/municipal health officer.

    Those who will leave Metro Manila will be endorsed to their destination's local government unit (LGU) and must do a 14-day home quarantine. The LGU will also monitor the implementation of the home quarantine.

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    Travel restrictions

    All departing passengers shall be allowed transit through the NCR. They must present at checkpoints proof of confirmed international travel itinerary scheduled within 12 hours from entry. Traveling to countries where travel restrictions are in place is still prohibited.

    Aside from the current travel restrictions imposed upon foreign travel to and from China, including its Special Administrative Regions, and portions of South Korea, inbound travelers from Iran and Italy (except Filipino citizens, including their foreign spouse and children, if any, and holders of Permanent Resident Visas or 9(e) Diplomatic Visas issued by the Philippine Government) shall be required to present a medical certificate issued by competent medical authorities within forty-eight (48) hours immediately preceding departure signifying that they have tested negative for COVID-19.

    In addition, the DOH is authorized to grant exemptions, based on humanitarian considerations, in favor of outbound travelers who wish to travel to jurisdictions where restrictions are currently in place.

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    Because of the curfew, several malls in NCR have also announced shortened hours. Ayala Malls and selected malls in BGC will close by 7 p.m., starting today, March 14, while SM Malls and Robinsons Malls in Metro Manila will operate from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., starting tomorrow, March 15.

    As of the latest count, 64 individuals have contracted COVID-19 in the Philippines, with eight fatalities. Of the total cases, two patients, listed as PH1 and PH3 have recovered.

    The Metro Manila Council has recommended that a curfew be imposed from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. in Metro Manila during the community quarantine period. Read more about it here.

    This article was updated on March 14, 2020 at 6:03 p.m.

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