Duterte: Too early for NCR lockdown over COVID-19 scare

Published March 9, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Argyll Geducos

President Duterte is not keen on the idea of placing the National Capital Region (NCR) on lockdown this early, even after reporting that the number of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) cases in the country reached 24 Monday evening.

KNG23 President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers a speech during the Annual General Membership Meeting of the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association Inc. at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on January 21, 2020. KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Duterte made the statement after Albay 2nd district representative Joey Salceda proposed the week-long lockdown of Metro Manila to slow down the transmission of the disease.

In a press briefing in Malacañang, President Duterte thumbed down suggestions to lock NCR down, but said it could happen if there will be thousands of COVID-19 cases.

“We haven’t reached that kind of contamination… Iisa-isa lang (There are only a few cases), with this transmission you want to close down the economy?” he told reporters Monday evening.

“There will be a time I suppose, I hope not. I hope God will have mercy on the Filipino people. It’s too early at this time,” he added.

According to the President, a lockdown will make it difficult for supplies like rice to enter Metro Manila.

However, he announced the suspension of classes in all levels in NCR from March 10 to 14 to protect schoolchildren from the disease.

In a press briefing in Malacañang Monday, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said it might be premature to declare a lockdown this early.

“We will have to wait until evidence of sustained community transmission is presented,” he said.

Salceda earlier said a lockdown of NCR should not be off the table if needed to slow down the transmission of COVID-19.

“The costs of mass community transmission far outweigh the economic losses arising from preemptive actions. Zero casualty doctrine should extend to all emergencies, especially health emergencies,” he said.

READ MORE: Salceda urges pre-emptive measures against COVID-19, suggests NCR lockdown