Manila threatens return to lockdown

  • AseanPlus News
  • Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Out and about: A woman walking near a traffic snarl in Manila after the two-month lockdown was relaxed. — AP

MALACANANG has warned of a possible return of strict lockdown rules after crowds headed to malls in Metro Manila, allegedly ignoring health rules on the first day of eased guidelines.

While it was “understandable” that people wanted to go out after a strict two-month movement limit, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said among its consequences was the sudden spike in Covid-19 cases in the country and the return of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

“If we go out in groups without observing physical distancing, we will return to the ECQ.

“I’ve said it before, being under MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine) is not permanent,” Roque said in a televised press briefing yesterday.“If cases surge and go beyond our critical care limit, we will definitely go back to home quarantine.”

Several sectors were allowed to operate on a limited capacity on Saturday in areas under MECQ, including Metro Manila – the country’s economic centre – to pump some life into the country’s economy.

But photos and videos showing mall-goers in some malls in the metropolis violating physical distancing rules went viral on social media, drawing widespread criticism and alarm.

But during a House committee hearing, trade secretary Ramon Lopez labelled the reports as “fake news” as he presented pictures of their supposed inspection of several malls in Metro Manila on Sunday.

Roque did not refer to the said reports as fake news in his press briefing yesterday. — Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN

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