Severity: Critical Alert
Entry/Exit: Philippines maintains community quarantine restrictions of varying degrees nationwide through May 31 due to COVID-19.
This alert affects Philippines
This alert began 16 May 2020 09:25 GMT and is scheduled to expire 06 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 of varying degrees nationwide to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) through May 31. Officials have suspended an earlier decision to lift measures in low-risk areas from May 16. The central government is maintaining the highest alert level (sublevel 2), amid ongoing local transmission of the virus.
Cebu and Mandaue cities will remain under the enhanced community quarantine through May 31. Residents in these locations have to stay at home, except to obtain essential supplies and for emergencies. Most on-site work remains closed, except for essential services. Public transport, domestic flights, and mass gatherings remain suspended in these areas.
Officials will maintain modified, enhanced community quarantine measures in Bataan, Bulacan, Laguna, Nueva Ecija, and Pampanga provinces, Metro Manila, Pateros municipality, and Angeles City through May 31. Residents in the locations can leave home to obtain essential supplies or seek emergency care. Key industries, including agriculture, food establishments, and manufacturing of essential products, can continue on-site work. Several industries, such as real estate and manufacturing of non-essential goods, can operate with half their workforce. Other places, such as gyms and entertainment venues, remain closed. Public transport and domestic flights remain suspended in these locations. Officials are limiting mass gatherings to five people.
All other cities and provinces will implement the less strict general community quarantine through May 31. In these locations, authorities are limiting the movement of residents to workplaces, obtaining essential supplies, or seeking emergency care. Most companies can operate with safe distancing protocols in place, though places like gyms and entertainment venues remain closed. Public transport can operate with distancing measures in place. Authorities are capping mass gatherings at 10 people.
Philippine Airlines (PR) has suspended all domestic flights to and from Cebu, Clark, and Manila through May 31. Cebu Pacific (5J), Cebgo (DG), and Philippines AirAsia (Z2) have also canceled all domestic flights through May 31. Inbound international flights have resumed nationwide. Officials are restricting 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. 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 Philippines. 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.