Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Community quarantine restrictions of varying degrees to continue in some parts of the Philippines through June 15 due to COVID-19 activity.

This alert affects Philippines

This alert began 28 May 2020 19:14 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions; heightened security

Summary
Community quarantine restrictions of varying degrees will remain in place in some parts of the Philippines through at least June 15 as part of the nation's effort to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Nevertheless, measures in most locations will ease from June 1. The country remains under Code Red Sublevel 2 on the coronavirus code alert system, indicating ongoing local transmission of the virus with greater numbers of cases than the government can address.

Cebu City will be under the country's strictest form of quarantine June 1-15. Termed a "modified enhanced community quarantine," the measure requires residents to stay in their homes, except to obtain essential supplies, seek emergency care, or to work at establishments that are authorized to be open. Essential businesses, such as pharmacies, grocery stores, healthcare providers, and certain critical industries, can operate at full capacity. Businesses able to function via telecommuting may continue to operate. Some nonessential industries, such as real estate offices, clothing stores, and book stores, may operate at only 50-percent capacity. Other establishments, such as gyms and entertainment venues, will remain closed. Public transport and domestic flights will remain suspended. Public gatherings are limited to five people.

Several locations will be under the less strict "general community quarantine" June 1-15. In areas under this measure, residents are allowed to move within barangays with no COVID-19 cases, in order to go to work, obtain essential supplies, or seek emergency care. Most companies can operate with safe distancing protocols in place, though facilities like gyms and entertainment venues remain closed. Public transport can operate with distancing measures in place. Public gatherings are capped at 10 people. Specific areas under general community quarantine include:

  • ·Luzon region: Metro Manila, Pateros municipality, Albay, Aurora, Bataan, Batangas, Bulacan, Cagayan, Cavite, Isabela, Laguna, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Quezon, Quirino, Rizal and Tarlac provinces and Lucena, Angeles, Olongapo, and Santiago cities

 

  • Mindanao region: Davao and Zamboanga cities


All other localities nationwide will be under the least strict form of quarantine June 1-15. Termed a "modified general community quarantine," residents will no longer be subject to stay-at-home orders. Public places, such as eating establishments, gyms, hotels, and hair salons, will operate at 50-percent capacity. Mass gatherings will be allowed to take place as long as the participants are less than half the venue's seating capacity. Directives concerning the use of protective face coverings, social distancing, and compliance with other health protocols will still be enforced.

Local provincial and municipal authorities may appeal to the central government in Manila to implement stricter or less stringent measures. Officials may also enact stricter restrictions in localized areas with significant COVID-19 activity.

Travel Restrictions

All visas, including previously issued documents and visa-free privileges, remain suspended, effectively banning foreigners from entering the Philippines. Exemptions are in place for foreign spouses and children of Philippine citizens, diplomatic staff and their dependents, and visa holders who are already in the country. Arriving travelers must undergo a two-week quarantine at government-designated facilities. Philippine citizens remain prohibited from leaving the country, with the exception of Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and uniformed personnel on official duty.

Background and Analysis
COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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