MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - Sampaloc district in Manila, which has the most number of suspected COVID-19 cases in the Philippine capital, will be placed under a "48-hour hard lockdown" later this week, Mayor Isko Moreno said Tuesday.
The shutdown from 8 p.m. Thursday until 8 p.m. Saturday will give way to "disease surveillance verification or testing and rapid risk assessment in relation to COVID-19," Moreno said on Facebook.
During this period, all residents of Sampaloc will be "strictly confined to their residence and are prohibited from going out of their houses," he said.
All quarantine passes will be canceled during the 2-day hard lockdown, said the mayor.
The restriction will exempt the following, he said:
- health workers
- police officers, soldiers, Coast Guard personnel and government workers rendering emergency frontline services and border control
- pharmacy and deathcare workers
- village officers
- accredited journalists
“All other commercial, industrial, retail, institutional and other activities not mentioned in above exemptions in the said district shall be suspended within the specified period of the shutdown,” according to an executive order that Moreno read in an announcement aired live on Facebook.
The mayor also directed police station commanders to deploy officers in strategic locations.
"Isa ito sa makakatulong kung saan, I'm hoping, mapababa natin ang contagion ng nasabing virus... Sa mga kababayan natin sa Sampaloc, minsan maasim man ang suka, kailangan natin inumin. Kailangan nating magkaisa," he said.
(This is one of the measures, I'm hoping, could help us slow the contagion of the said virus. To our compatriots in Sampaloc, the vinegar is sour but we have to take it. We need to unite.)
Sampaloc as of Monday had 99 residents with COVID-19 and was monitoring some 285 probable carriers of the respiratory disease, the highest figure in Manila, said the mayor.
The Ospital ng Sampaloc, he said, was also closed for 2 weeks until Monday because some dishonest patients passed the novel coronavirus to 7 doctors, 2 nurses and an administrative staff there.
Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said Moreno requested for an additional 150 troops to help enforce the "hard lockdown" in Sampaloc.
"We also have deployed personnel and vehicle to augment not only our local government units, but also our counterparts in the PNP because there's a need for us to show that indeed we are serious in ensuring that we're able to establish discipline and order in the metropolis," he said in an interview on ANC.
If there's continued violation of enhanced community quarantine protocols, Arevalo said the national government may have to extend the lockdown after April 30 to stem the spread of the disease.
All over Metro Manila, the military has deployed 1,600 troops to implement strict quarantine measures.