Duterte to stay in Manila to oversee gov’t response vs. COVID-19

Published March 13, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang said President Duterte will be staying in Manila to oversee the government’s measures against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak during the month-long community quarantine of the National Capital Region (NCR).

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said this Friday after Duterte announced on Thursday night that Metro Manila will be placed under community quarantine from March 15 to April 14 and that land, domestic air, and domestic sea travel to and from NCR during the same period are likewise suspended.

In an interview over ANC, Panelo said Duterte thumbed down his common-law wife Honeylet Avanceña’s request for him to fly back to Davao City.

“He said, ‘No,” Panelo recalled.

“‘The face of the country is Manila and the President had to be here so I’ll be here,'” he recounted the President saying.

Panelo also said President Duterte wanted to hold a meeting with the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease every day to assess the situation.

President Duterte announced that NCR would be placed on “community quarantine” following “sustained community transmission.”

“The President had to undertake stringent measures because he’s expecting a spike, he wants to see how effective these measures would be,” Panelo explained. “All we have to do really is observe protocols, personal hygiene, keep washing your hands… distance yourself from the person near you. That’s a very simple task to do.”

The Department of Health (DOH) reported Thursday evening a total of 52 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines. Five have died while two have recovered.

On Thursday, President Duterte had himself tested for COVID-19 as some of his Cabinet members went on self-quarantine after being exposed to COVID-19 patients.

According to Panelo, the President was “okay” after his test and added that results will be released publicly after 48 hours.

The COVID-19 outbreak has killed around 4,900 people and infected some 130,000 others worldwide, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare it a pandemic.