(Editor's note: An earlier version of this story quoted Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte as saying that the possibility of a lockdown was being studied. Belmonte denied this, saying such a declaration is beyond her authority. We regret the error.)
MANILA - Authorities in Quezon City have found and placed in home quarantine 40 people who had contact with 3 residents who tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said Tuesday.
Belmonte said the 40 underwent medical tests and were placed under quarantine in their homes while they wait for their results.
They were located after authorities conducted contact tracing for the 3 patients who earlier tested positive for the disease, among 33 total confirmed cases in the Philippines so far.
In a statement on Wednesday, Belmonte said placing the city under lockdown would be "beyond my scope of authority."
Belmonte said she ordered the city's coronavirus response task force to study the possible effects of a lockdown in case such is declared.
She said she ordered the team to look into similar lockdowns abroad "so we can learn what method may best apply in our context."
"I ordered the study despite indication from President Duterte that a lockdown of Metro Manila is not necessary at the moment so we will be ready for any eventuality," she said.
Quezon City is home to nearly 3 million people as of 2015, the most densely populated city in Metro Manila, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday announced the suspension of classes in all levels in Metro Manila from March 10 to 14 to avoid the spread of the disease in usually crammed classrooms.
He also placed the Philippines under a state of public health emergency after cases of the virus rapidly rose over the last four days.
-- Report from Dexter Ganibe, ABS-CBN News