Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte undergoes testing for Covid-19 at the Malacanang Palace, Manila. Duterte is being tested for the new virus after meeting with Cabinet officials who were exposed to infected people. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the national capital region or Metro Manila, composed of 16 cities and one municipality, under lockdown for one month to contain the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus (Covid-19) in the Philippines.

Duterte declared the suspension of domestic travel to and from Metro Manila from March 15 until April 14.

At least 12 million Filipinos residing in Manila, Quezon City, Caloocan, Las Piñas, Makati, Malabon, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Parañaque, Pasay, Pasig, San Juan, Taguig, and Valenzuela, as well as the municipality of Pateros will be affected by the lockdown.

Duterte made the announcement via live social media broadcast on Thursday, after announcing the coronavirus alert level in the Philippines has been raised to Code Red Sublevel 2, where there is evidence of community transmission.

Duterte also suspended classes in all school levels and government work in the executive branch for one month or until April 12.

The move follows confirmation on Saturday of the Philippines’ first domestic transmission of the virus, which has killed two people there and infected 53.

Read more

Duterte was tested for the new coronavirus on Thursday, officials said, as key government buildings were being disinfected over an exposure scare. The Philippines has seen a jump this week in cases, including people who recently attended events with Senate lawmakers and government officials, potentially exposing them.

The Senate building and Philippine central bank were undergoing cleaning, and several officials announced they would isolate themselves as a precaution.

Duterte, who at 74 is in a vulnerable age group for the virus, underwent testing because he has been in regular contact with some of those officials.