Philippine economy

Manila gives out 500K facemasks to students amid 1st confirmed coronavirus case

Loreben Tuquero
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno warns establishments against overpricing facemasks, saying they could be charged for profiteering

CORONAVIRUS THREAT. Visitors at the Manila Chinatown in Binondo, Manila, wear medical masks fearing the outbreak of coronavirus. File photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Following the confirmation of the first case of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the Philippines, the city of Manila will be distributing 500,000 masks to public school students from elementary to college levels.

The patient, a Chinese national who had a history of travel to Wuhan in China, is currently confined in a government hospital in Manila. A number of Chinese schools in Manila have suspended classes since January 27.

Manila Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna-Pangan said on Thursday, January 30, the city’s health workers had been alerted and that health services would always be available.

Patuloy po kaming bababa, lahat po ng aming health workers, para magbigay ng impormasyon patungkol po sa coronavirus,” she added. (We will continue to go down to the communities, all our health workers, so that we can provide information on the coronavirus.)

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno warned establishments against overpricing facemasks, saying the city government could cancel their business permit or charge them for profiteering.

“If you continue doing that, we will make you criminally liable,” Moreno said in a Facebook Live broadcast. 

“We guarantee that we will monitor and if we find anybody or anyone, we will make [you], one: cancel their business permit; and two, we will go after you, and we will file cases against you,” he said. 

“Those stores in Manila, please, do not enrich yourselves economically and take advantage of the situation. Ang virus po at ang corona ay walang pinipili – mayaman, mahirap, middle class,” Moreno said. (The coronavirus does not choose anyone – rich, poor, or middle class.)

Health officials advised the public to practice proper hygiene and coughing etiquette, particularly constant washing of hands and coughing into the crook of the elbow. (‘Novel coronavirus’ or 2019 nCoV: What we know so far) – Rappler.com  

Loreben Tuquero

Loreben Tuquero is a researcher-writer for Rappler. Before transferring to Rappler's Research team, she covered transportation, Quezon City, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government as a reporter. She graduated with a communication degree from the Ateneo de Manila University.