IN PHOTOS: Panic buying, traffic jam before start of MECQ

Iya Gozum

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IN PHOTOS: Panic buying, traffic jam before start of MECQ

Photo from John Villanueva Puzon

People rush to stock up on food supplies and household essentials before the start of the two-week lockdown in Metro Manila and 4 surrounding provinces

After President Rodrigo Duterte announced that Metro Manila and 4 surrounding provinces would revert to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) starting Tuesday midnight, residents of affected areas crowded markets and grocery stores to stock on food and other essentials on Monday, August 3.

The move to put key areas under MECQ came after medical frontliners’ distress call to implement stricter quarantine measures to arrest the rapid spread of the coronavirus and unburden the overwhelmed hospitals. The Philippines went past 106,000 in coronavirus cases as of Monday.

HEAVY TRAFFIC. North Caloocan motorists and residents flock to the market to buy supplies.
Photo from John Villanueva Puzon
LONG MARKET QUEUES. At the Kiko Market in Barangay Camarin, North Caloocan, a day before the MECQ
Photo from John Villanueva
UMBRELLAS OPEN. San Mateo residents pop open their umbrellas as they line up outside a grocery.
Photo from Hera Sensa
WAITING FOR THEIR TURN. Residents line up outside a grocery at Dulong Bayan, San Mateo, Rizal, on August 3, 2020.
Photo from Hera Sensa
PHYSICAL DISTANCING. Cainta residents wait in line outside Puregold at CK Square, Brookside, Cainta, Rizal, at around 4 pm Monday.
Photo from Sef de Leon
MAKING ENDS MEET. Account holders line up to withdraw money from an ATM in Southpark, BF Homes, Parañaque City.
Photo from Kris Angelo Afable

The frenzy also caused traffic jam in certain parts of Metro Manila. Commuters cram inside public vehicles. Under MECQ, public transportation will no longer be allowed.

HIGHWAY TRAFFIC. Heavy traffic along SLEX Northbound.
Photo from Vea Magsaysay
‘SABIT.’ Commuters will have to face another period without public transportation under MECQ.
Photo from Camille Elemia

This panic buying was reminiscent of the situation 5 months before, when enhanced community quarantine was declared in Luzon for the first time. Shelves had been emptied and stores had to set buying limits per person.

Meanwhile, Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto reminded his constituents in a tweet to avoid panic buying and withdrawing of money, as grocery stores and ATMs would remain open even under MECQ.

(READ: Vico Sotto: Stay calm, don’t resort to panic buying

The return to MECQ limits access to goods and services. Select types of businesses will be partially open, while religious gatherings will be limited to only 5 people at a time. Quarantine passes and checkpoints will be enforced to regulate travel. –

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Iya Gozum

Iya Gozum covers the environment, agriculture, and science beats for Rappler.