Severity: Critical Alert
Entry/Exit: Officials maintaining community quarantine orders in parts of the Philippines through May 31. Measures lifted in low-risk areas from May 16.
This alert affects Philippines
This alert began 12 May 2020 10:51 GMT and is scheduled to expire 02 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.
- Incident: Restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: International and domestic transport restrictions, heightened security, enhanced health screenings, business disruptions
Authorities will maintain community quarantine restrictions in several parts of the country through at least May 31. However, measures are lifted in low-risk areas to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). High-risk areas, including Metro Manila, Cebu City, and Laguna Province, will implement modified, enhanced community quarantine measures May 16-31. Residents in these locations will have to stay at home, except to obtain essential supplies and for emergencies. Most on-site work remains suspended, except for essential services. Manufacturing plants can also reopen with a maximum of half their workforce. Transport services can operate but are restricted to people going to work and obtaining essential services.
Officials will implement the less strict general community quarantine measures in 38 provinces and 12 cities that are considered moderate-risk May 16-31. Authorities will limit the movement of residents to going to workplaces or obtaining essential services in these locations. Most industries can operate with up to 75 percent of employees in these locations, though details remain unclear. Public transport can operate with social distancing measures in place. The affected areas include:
- Luzon region: Abra, Apayao, Aurora, Bataan, Batanes, Batangas, Benguet, Bulacan, Cagayan, Cavite, Ifugao, Isabela, Kalinga, Mountain, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Pampanga, Quezon, Quirino, Rizal, Tarlac, and Zambales provinces and Angeles, Baguio, Lucena, Olongapo, and Santiago cities
- Mindanao region: Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Davao de Oro, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Occidental, Davao Oriental, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga Sibugay provinces and Butuan, Davao, Isabela, and Zamboanga cities
- Visayas region: Bohol, Cebu (except Cebu City), Negros Oriental, and Siquijor provinces and Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue cities
Authorities will lift community quarantine restrictions in 41 provinces - more than half of the country - and 11 cities, including Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Cotabato, General Santos, and Iloilo cities, from May 16. Local officials in these locations may retain or implement other measures, such as compulsory quarantine or entry ban for visitors arriving from Metro Manila.
The central government is maintaining a Code Red Sublevel 2 alert, the highest level, amid ongoing local transmission of the virus.
Inbound international flights have resumed nationwide. Officials have restricted incoming international commercial flights at Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) to Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, while international chartered flights can arrive on Mondays and Thursdays.
The government continues to suspend all visas, including previously issued documents and visa-free privileges, effectively banning foreigners from entering the country. The restriction exempts foreign spouses and children of Philippine citizens and diplomatic staff and their dependents. The measure also does not affect visa holders who are already in the Philippines. All arriving travelers will undergo a two-week quarantine at government-designated facilities. Authorities continue to prevent Philippine citizens, except for Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and uniformed personnel on official duty, from departing the country.
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.
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.