By Genalyn Kabiling
Luzon residents may walk or ride a bike when venturing outside their homes for essential needs during the quarantine period, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said.
Nograles made the statement after the government suspended public transportation as part of the quarantine measures on the country’s main island of Luzon.
“Walking or biking is allowed,” Nograles, spokesperson of the inter-agency task force for the management of emerging infectious diseases, said in the Laging Handa public briefing Wednesday.
“All public transportation are not allowed to operate, such as tricycles, pedicabs, taxis/Grab, jeepneys, buses, including MRT/LRT (trains),” he added.
Local government units and employers are urged to provide point-to-point transportation for people authorized to report for work, especially health workers.
The Department of Transportation and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration may also provide transport services for concerned workers, Nograles said.
As the government seeks to ensure an adequate food supply in Luzon, Nograles reaffirmed that the movement of cargo through air, land, and sea must remain “unhampered.”
“Cargo trucks and vans should not be blocked from entering the ports, expressways or highways,” he said.
Concerned about the sharp increase in the number of coronavirus infections, President Duterte has placed Luzon under enhanced community quarantine that requires millions of Filipinos to stay at home to curb the outbreak.
The government has enforced a “mandatory home quarantine” for Luzon residents, promoted work-from-home arrangements in most companies, suspended classes, imposed travel restrictions, and banned large gatherings, among other measures.
However, supermarkets, drug stores, banks, and other private establishments providing essential and critical services are allowed to stay open during the quarantine period.
As of Wednesday, the country has recorded 193 cases of coronavirus disease, including 14 fatalities. At least 338 patients are under investigation for coronavirus infection.