Soldiers stand guard as they wait inside the military headquarters to be deployed in major thoroughfares in Manila on Saturday. Agence France-Presse
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
Filipinos in the UAE support the decision of the Duterte Administration in imposing a March 15 to April 14 “community quarantine” of the national capital region of Metro Manila (MM) to contain the rapid spread of the global pandemic Coronavirus 2019 (COVID19).
A megapolis, MM consists of 16 cities and one town (619.6 square kilometres) of at least 12.8 million local and expatriate residents. At least three million others from nearby regions travel there every day for business and/or pleasure.
As of 2 pm UAE time on Saturday, “people under investigation” for COVID19 across the archipelago were at 912 from 17 regions, 694 of which had been discharged, 98 confirmed and eight deaths.
The month-long lockdown was recommended by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATMEID) with noted epidemiologists as consultants.
All approved of the consequent Saturday unanimous decision of the 17 MM mayors to impose a nine-hour curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 p.m., including the closure of all malls and shopping centers.
There are at least 50 malls throughout the Philippines. Sharjah resident Bernardina Galvez on Thursday evening expressed the frustration and anger of a brother, booked to fly back this week to attend his son’s graduation: “It is (lamentable). Many were excited to go home for the (academic year-end commencement exercises) and reunions. I told my brother we have to understand the government decision and accept the situation. (The lockdown is a protection). We all need to pray.”
Sharjah resident Edgar Orines: “President Duterte acted on the IATMEID recommendation. The IATMEID has epidemiologists as consultants. Let us all keep an open mind. Stop politicking.” Sharjah resident Rey Tan: “That is correct strategy.” Sharjah resident Ben Fallorina: “President Duterte did a fine job of approving the (IATMEID) recommendation. COVID19 is not a joke. It takes a serious strategy to combat this pathogen. The downside of course are those who panic buy and would not even think of the well-being of others. With this outbreak, we still have countrymen (tainted with our insipid) crab mentality.”
Dubai resident Yuri Cipriano: “Limiting the travel to and from MM is needed. But guidelines (which must also weigh on how we can protect others too) must be clear and properly communicated to all media.
The well-being of and medical assistance to the less fortunate must be considered. During this trying times and as a Christian-dominated country, our mindset must be centered on community welfare not on self. I have yet to see government action on the following important measures — mass disinfection of public places/areas and transport facilities, non-intrusive thermal scanning to those allowed to cross borders and police check-points, deployment of well-trained medical/health teams down to all the barangays (villages) to provide education and assistance, and, provision of free testing kits and personal protective equipment. I hope there is no abuse of power with regards curfew.”
Angelwings International managing director Ellanie Villena is “optimistic” about the curfew: “Less mass movement, less traffic, less pollution, and boosted community peace and order (amidst) panic and fake news creating nuisance. I do not think we have the capability to scan the thousands of people who go in and out of Metro Manila but the (lockdown) will avoid the further spread of COVID19. We are going to surpass this if we all cooperate, have confidence in God, get united with and support other countries. Let us all pray and hope for the best instead (of getting panicky). Our travel agency welcomes all enquiries from all the affected.”
MPQ Travel & Tourism managing director Malou Prado: “We totally understand the importance of the lockdown for everyone’s protection. We have received numerous calls from our clients since the Thursday evening announcement. (Majority of them) are worried. We made clear to them that only domestic flights are affected so far. We are awaiting advice from airline companies. Most clients as of Saturday prefer to rebook their flights to avoid inconvenience.” Ras Al Khaimah resident Mardy Dizon: “The community quarantine is by far the most effective way.” Dubai resident Mai Licudan: “The (lockdown) would have all health workers and facilities attend to the existing cases more efficiently.”
An Australian family residing in Dubai expressed its thanks and gratitude to the UAE for helping to reunite them in Dubai with their son, who was stuck in the Australian city of Sydney for nearly two months.
In line with the Dubai Government’s decision to resume economic activity from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm effective Wednesday 27 May, Dubai Culture and arts Authority announced it will reopen its museums in a phased manner from 1 June.
The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) has confirmed that schools in Dubai may reopen their facilities following the summer break, provided they comply with specific health and safety protocols.
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why,” said the American writer Mark Twain. “Why” here refers to finding out one’s life purpose or passion.
Anyone who has transited Brazil in the last 14 days is also prohibited from entering Italy, he said on Facebook, while people arriving in Italy from Brazil will be required to take a test for the virus.
More than 820 people were injured and about 15,000 left their homes after the 6.2 magnitude quake, the BNPB said. Some sought refuge in the mountains, while others went to cramped evacuation centres, witnesses said.