MANILA (UPDATE) - The House of Representatives temporarily shut down its complex in Quezon City beginning Thursday as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the capital region.
House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said he ordered the 4-day lockdown as a precautionary measure.
House members and most of the employees at the complex will work through online communication platforms during the scheduled committee meetings, public hearings, and other events at the lower chamber during the 4-day lockdown.
"Everyone is enjoined to stay at home during the lockdown not just to protect ourselves but also to help arrest the spread of the virus," the House public affairs office said.
The complex's media center will also be closed, it added.
"Accredited media will still have access through the usual Zoom and livestreaming platforms during plenary sessions, committee meetings, public hearings and other events in the House of Representatives," the office said.
"Rest assured that the Media Center will be re-opened as soon as the situation improves."
The House has 33 active COVID-19 infections as of Thursday, said Secretary General Mark Llandro Mendoza.
House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez earlier said he tested positive for the virus, following Negros Oriental 1st District. Jocelyn Sy-Limkaichong and Anakalusugan Rep. Michael Defensor.
At least two lawmakers have died of the coronavirus, Representatives Francisco Datol and Ma. Bernardita Ditas Ramos.
The Philippines on Wednesday reported 4,387 new COVID-19 cases, raising the country’s total number of infections to 635,698, most of which were registered in Metro Manila.
The health department earlier in the day admitted that new COVID-19 cases in the country had reached the same peak level in July last year, noting as well the rise of infections in households or offices.
--With reports from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News