MANILA—Health authorities on Saturday urged travelers returning to their home provinces from Metro Manila to undergo a 14-day home quarantine to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said travelers who are outside the National Capital Region would be considered persons under monitoring (PUMs).
Travelers experiencing flu-like symptoms such as fever, dry cough and fatigue will be considered as patients under investigation (PUIs) and are advised to seek medical care immediately, Vergeire added.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday announced that Metro Manila's 12 million people would be placed under "community quarantine" to contain the fast-spreading disease.
Travel—whether by land, sea or domestic air—in and out of Metro Manila will be prohibited. Residents are also advised to stay in their homes and avoid non-essential travel within the area.
Before Metro Manila is sealed off starting Sunday, March 15, several people chose to return to their home provinces.
"Let us cooperate with our healthcare workers and local government authorities to stop the spread of this disease to other communities. The department is issuing guidelines for the health and safety of all Filipinos," Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement.
"In turn, let us follow these stringent infection prevention interventions without fail. Only through the genuine help of all Filipinos will we be able stop this health emergency."
To date, the Philippines has recorded 98 cases of COVID-19, including 8 fatalities.
The virus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has infected more than 132,000 and killed nearly 5,000 in 122 countries and territories, latest data from the World Health Organization (WHO) showed.