March 13 ------ President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday announced tougher measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), including work and class suspensions as well as travel restrictions, as part of a "community quarantine" in Metro Manila. The Philippines raised Code Red Sub-Level 2 over the COVID-19 threat. Addressing the nation from Malacañang, Duterte said government work would be suspended and skeletal workforce will be implemented.
Land, domestic air and domestic sea travel to and from Metro Manila will be suspended from March 15, 2020 until April 14, 2020, subject to daily review of the government. The Philippines will also ban foreign nationals from countries with localized COVID-19 transmissions, except diplomats and permanent residents. Duterte announced the "community quarantine" over the national capital region after his meeting with the members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) in Malacañang. “It’s just a matter of protecting public interest and public health,” Duterte said. "Ayaw naming gamitin yan kasi takot sa lockdown, but it’s a lockdown,. There is no struggle of power here, it is a matter of protecting and defending you from COVID-19," he added.
The movement of goods to and from Metro Manila will not be affected by the quarantine. “Cargoes, food and non-food okay to move,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in a text message. Officials of the road sector of the Department of Transportation will meet with interior and health officials on Friday to define the rules of the quarantine in Metro Manila. "We will update you once we have the guidelines already," Transportation Undersecretary Goddess Libiran said on Friday night. Local government units in other areas were advised to abide by the guidelines set by the IATF.