Report: Lawmakers suggest NLEX, SLEX closure, Manila lockdown due to COVID-19

Is this too drastic a measure?
by Drei Laurel | Mar 9, 2020
PHOTO: Leandre Grecia

As of several hours ago today, March 9, the Philippine Department of Health (DOH) says the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country is 20. The government has also already declared a nationwide state of public health emergency. Now, according to a report by CNN Philippines, lawmakers have suggested closing major thoroughfares and transportation lines leading to and from Metro Manila to suppress the spread of the virus.

House Minority leader Bienvenido Abante Jr. and Albay Second District congressman Jose Salceda both expressed concern over the virus’s spread in Metro Manila, with the latter sharing his desire to cut travel to and from the nation’s capital.

“At this point, all options should be on the table given that the National Capital Region is the most densely populated area in the country,” Abante said, adding that viral outbreaks are more serious when they take place in densely populated areas like Metro Manila.

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“It also says that outbreaks of disease are more frequent and more severe when the population density is high, which happens to be the case in Metro Manila, particularly my district,” Abante continued. “Whatever precautions we take, while guarding the health of the public, should not result in the paralysis of the country.”

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Salceda’s take on the issue is even more drastic: “Yung 10 cases, sa Metro Manila eh. So kung may mangyari [na COVID-19 cases] outside Manila, galing yun sa Metro Manila. Napaka-simple lang naman niyanSara mo SLEX, NLEX, yung railways, no domestic flights, no bus trips,” the official was quoted as saying.

“You may also declare work stoppage in Metro Manila. Kasi nandoon ang congregation ng mass transmission,” he went on. “Mas mahal sa ekonomiya kung magkaroon tayo nito.”

Do you think locking down Metro Manila is a smart move amidst the continued spread of the virus? Let us know in the comments.

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UPDATE: As of 5pm of March 9, 2020, the Department of Health has declared that there are 20 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country. This article has been updated to reflect the new information.

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PHOTO: Leandre Grecia
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