Duterte to stay in Manila to oversee gov't measures vs COVID-19: spokesman


Posted at Mar 13 2020 01:31 PM | Updated as of Mar 13 2020 01:51 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte announces the content of the resolution adopted by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) following a meeting at the Malacañang Palace on March 12, 2020. Richard Madelo, Presidential Photo

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte will remain in Manila amid the month-long quarantine of the capital region to oversee government measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), his spokesman said Friday.

Duterte's Cabinet will also hold a meeting "every day" to assess the virus outbreak, Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

"Yes, he announced it last night that his wife wanted him to fly back (to Davao) but he said 'no, the face of the country is Manila and the President had to be here so I’ll be here,'" Panelo told ANC's Dateline Philippines when asked if the President has plans to return to his hometown.

The President is "okay" following his test for COVID-19 on Thursday, Panelo said. Results will be released publicly after 48 hours, he added.

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Duterte on Thursday said Metro Manila would be placed under "community quarantine," which will prohibit travel to and from the region from March 15 to April 14, following “sustained community transmission.”

"The President had to undertake stringent measures because he’s expecting a spike, he wants to see how effective these measures would be," Panelo said.

"All we have to do really si observe protocols, personal hygiene, keep washing your hands… distance yourself from the person near you. That's a very simple task to do."

There are 52 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines as of Thursday evening. Five have died and 2 have recovered.

The health department has raised the highest Code Red Sub-level 2 after the country earlier declared a state of public health emergency.

The virus outbreak, which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has killed some 4,900 people and infected 130,000 others worldwide, prompting the World Health Organization to declare a global pandemic.