MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The rush hour on Monday morning, March 16, saw vehicles piling up around Metro Manila where checkpoints have been placed to help combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.
This is the first Monday of the lockdown in Metro Manila, a measure imposed by Preisdent Rodrigo Duterte’s government to contain COVID-19, the disease caused by 2019-nCoV that has so far infected 140 people and killed 8 across the Philippines. (READ: LIST: Metro Manila lockdown checkpoints)
On Monday morning, commuters had to wait for several minutes as cars, jeepneys, UV Express vans, trucks, and motorcycles are stopped by checkpoint frontliners to get their temperatures and verify their documents to ensure they are either residents of the city they are entering or they are working there.
Even pedestrians are asked to line up at the checkpoints to have their temperatures taken and their purpose of travel assessed. (READ: At Cainta-Marikina checkpoint, some pedestrians evade temperature check)
While stringent protocols are in place regarding social distancing, it’s nearly impossible to implement this during the rush hour as commuters scramble to get seats in cramped jeepneys and buses so they could get to work on time.
The week started with a total of 140 people in the Philippines tested positive for COVID-19. Of this number, 8 have died. The Department of Health, however, said two patients have already recovered while 5 cases who now have mild symptoms are under home quarantine.