The government is expanding quarantine measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the Philippines. Here are the stories making the headlines on ANC today:
President Duterte, in a long-winded almost hour-long taped address, ordered an “enhanced community quarantine” for the whole of Luzon starting midnight of March 17 to fight the spread of the coronavirus. This means everyone will have to go through strict home quarantine, there will be no travel and movement as public transportation will be suspended, there will be more police and military on the ground manning checkpoints, among other things. Later, Secretary to the Cabinet Karlo Nograles had to outline the details of the quarantine. But there are still many questions. If some companies are still operating, if supermarkets, markets and other establishments are still open, how will their workers get to work?
Bad for business
COVID-19 is also wreaking havoc on the business community as businesses struggle. Workers are also concerned with job stability. President Duterte called on employers to give the 13th month pay in advance to help their employees cope. The Palace also announced the release of P27.1 billion to fight the coronavirus and provide economic relief to affected sectors.
Sen. Migs Zubiri revealed that he tested positive for the coronavirus, the first ranking lawmaker to get the virus. He said he did not know how he got the virus. Zubiri said he was careful, practicing social distance and a no-handshake policy. It’s proof that even if you are careful, you can still get the virus.
Ray of hope
According to the latest numbers from the health department, 12 people have died from the coronavirus with the number of infections rising to 142. Also, three people have recovered from COVID-19 in the country. While seemingly a low number, it’s a statistic that provides a ray of hope in these dark days.
As Metro Manila is shut off from the rest of the country because of COVID-19, what insights do we gain from it? ANCX breaks down the politics of an epidemic.