MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos traveling as tourists will not be allowed to leave the country during the duration of the Luzon lockdown, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said on Wednesday, March 18.
“Filipinos who will go out as tourists to any destination shall not be allowed to leave the country,” Nograles said in a Laging Handa press briefing. Nograles is the spokesperson for the government’s coronavirus task force.
The measurement is an expansion of earlier travel restrictions put in place against Filipino tourists traveling amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Philippine government earlier limited all restricted travel to North Gyeongsang Province, including Daegu City and Cheongdo County in South Korea; as well as Hong Kong, Macau, and mainland China – ground zero of the coronavirus outbreak.
The measures take effect after widespread confusion and several questions were raised after President Rodrigo Duterte delivered a briefing on government’s response to the coronavirus crisis on Monday night, March 16. (READ: GUIDELINES: Luzon ‘enhanced community quarantine’)
Why this matters. The government has put in place strict social distancing measures, which include limiting the movement of people in Luzon, to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus.
Part of this includes requiring more than 57 million residents in Luzon to stay home, unless they are among those part of skeleton work forces or were health workers, emergency services, and uniformed personnel involved in responding to the outbreak.
Experts have pointed out the social distancing measure – defined as individuals keeping distance from one another – was crucial in preventing the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Health officials earlier reported a steep increase in infections with the number of confirmed cases in the Philippines spiking from 6 to 193 in less than two weeks. The confirmed cases included 14 deaths and 7 recoveries. – Rappler.com