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|2020 coronavirus pandemic in the Philippines|
Map of provinces (including Metro Manila) with confirmed (red) COVID-19 cases (as of April 3)[note 1]
|First outbreak||Wuhan, Hubei, China|
|Arrival date||January 30, 2020|
(2 months and 4 days)
|16 out of 17 regions affected|
The 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic was confirmed to have spread to the Philippines on January 30, 2020, when the first case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was confirmed in Metro Manila. It involved a 38-year-old Chinese woman who was confined in the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila. The second case was confirmed on February 2, that of a 44-year-old Chinese man who died a day earlier, which was also the first confirmed death from the disease outside mainland China. The first case of someone without travel history abroad was confirmed on March 5, a 62-year-old male who frequented a Muslim prayer hall in San Juan, Metro Manila, raising suspicions that a community transmission of COVID-19 is already underway in the Philippines. The man's wife was confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 on March 7, which was also the first local transmission to be confirmed.
As of April 2, 2020, there have been 2,633 confirmed cases of the disease in the country. Out of these cases, 107 deaths and 51 recoveries were recorded. The largest single-day increase in the number of confirmed cases was on March 31, when 538 new cases were announced.
The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Muntinlupa, Metro Manila, is the medical facility where suspected cases are being tested for COVID-19 since January 30, 2020. Before that date, confirmatory tests were made abroad. Currently, five sub-national laboratories are also conducting testings while thirty laboratories are still undergoing proficiency testing before use.
Several measures were imposed to mitigate the spread of the disease in the country, including bans on travel to mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and South Korea. On March 7, 2020, the Department of Health (DOH) raised its "Code Red Sub-Level 1," with a recommendation to the President of the Philippines to impose a "public health emergency" authorizing the DOH to mobilize resources for the procurement of safety gear and the imposition of preventive quarantine measures. On March 9, President Rodrigo Duterte issued Proclamation No. 922, declaring the country under a state of public health emergency. On March 12, President Duterte declared "Code Red Sub-Level 2," issuing a partial lockdown on Metro Manila and extending the metropolis' class suspensions up to April 12, to prevent a nationwide spread of COVID-19. The class suspensions were later extended up to April 14 through a memorandum circular released by Malacañang on March 14. On March 16, the entirety of Luzon has been placed under an "enhanced community quarantine." On March 17, President Duterte issued Proclamation No. 929, declaring the Philippines under a state of calamity for a tentative period of six months. On March 25, the President signed the "Bayanihan to Heal as One Act," which gave him additional powers to handle the outbreak.
The first case of COVID-19 in the Philippines was confirmed on January 30. The diagnosed patient was a 38-year-old Chinese woman from Wuhan, the origin of the disease, who had arrived in Manila from Hong Kong on January 21. She was admitted to the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila on January 25 after she sought a consultation due to a mild cough. At the time of the confirmation announcement, the Chinese woman was already asymptomatic.
The second case was confirmed on February 2, a 44-year-old Chinese male who was the companion of the first case. His death on February 1 was the first recorded outside China. He suffered from coinfection with influenza and Streptococcus pneumoniae.
On February 5, the DOH confirmed a third case in a 60-year-old Chinese woman who flew into Cebu City from Hong Kong on January 20 before she traveled to Bohol where she consulted a doctor at a private hospital on January 22, due to fever and rhinitis. Samples taken from the patient on January 24 returned a negative result, but the DOH was notified on February 3 that samples taken from the patient on January 23 tested positive for the virus. The patient upon recovery on January 31 was allowed to go home to China.
After a month without new cases, on March 6, the DOH announced two cases consisting of two Filipinos. One is a 48-year-old man with a travel history to Japan, returning on February 25 and reported symptoms on March 3. The other is a 60-year-old man with a history of hypertension and diabetes who experienced symptoms on February 25 and was admitted to a hospital on March 1 when he experienced pneumonia. He had last visited a Muslim prayer hall in San Juan. The DOH confirmed that the fifth case had no travel history outside the Philippines and is, therefore, the first case of local transmission. A sixth case was later confirmed, that of a 59-year-old woman who is the wife of the fifth case. The Department of Health confirmed that the fourth case is a lawyer who works for the multinational firm Deloitte while the fifth case is a resident of Cainta. On March 8, it was confirmed that an American, Taiwanese and two Filipinos were being treated for the virus. On March 9, the DOH announced 10 more cases of the virus with unnamed patients being isolated at various hospitals. That same day, President Duterte announced four more cases from San Juan, Quezon City, and Santa Maria, Bulacan. The last-mentioned case was eventually clarified to be from San Jose del Monte, still in the same province. Since then, the Department of Health recorded a continuous increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country.
Three incumbent and two former Senators of the Philippines have contracted COVID-19. On March 16, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri confirmed that he tested positive for COVID-19, although he claimed he was asymptomatic. On March 25, Senator Koko Pimentel announced that he had also tested positive for COVID-19. The following day, Senator Sonny Angara became the third senator to announce his COVID-19 diagnosis after yielding a positive result. On March 31, former Senator Bongbong Marcos also tested positive for COVID-19 after receiving his March 28 test results from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM). Marcos said that he felt unwell upon returning from a trip to Spain. Another former Senator, Heherson Alvarez, and his wife were reported to be in critical condition after contracting the virus.
On March 17, actor Christopher de Leon announced that he had contracted the virus, although de Leon claimed he was asymptomatic and was not in contact with any COVID-19 carriers. He was released from the hospital on March 24. Actress Iza Calzado, who was hospitalized for pneumonia on March 25, was later confirmed to be COVID-positive on March 28. On March 30, Calzado announced that she already tested negative for COVID-19. On March 31, actress Sylvia Sanchez announced that she and her husband Art Atayde had contracted the virus.
Professor Aileen Baviera, a former dean of the University of the Philippines Asian Center and a leading expert on China, died on March 21 at San Lazaro Hospital in Manila due to severe pneumonia caused by COVID-19. She died before seeing the test result that should have confirmed if COVID-19 was the main cause of her death.
On March 27, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed that Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Felimon Santos, Jr. tested positive for COVID-19. Four days later, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año announced that he had tested positive following a result from the RITM, although he claims to be asymptomatic. Año stated that he had interacted with at least four people diagnosed with the virus.
On March 31, former Prime Minister and Finance Secretary Cesar Virata was reported to have been admitted to the intensive care unit of St. Luke's Medical Center – Global City due to a stroke and pneumonia. Virata was later confirmed to have the virus.
|Middle East & Africa[c]||48||2||45||1|
|Data updated as of April 3, 2020 (From the DFA).|
The first three confirmed cases in the Philippines involved foreigners. The first confirmed case of a Filipino national outside the Philippines was announced by the DFA on February 5, 2020—that of a crew member of the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined off the coast of Yokohama, Japan.
On February 8, a Filipino in the UAE was diagnosed to have the coronavirus.
On February 25, the DFA announced that a Filipino national living in Singapore is being treated at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases after being confirmed positive. It was previously reported that the person is a permanent resident of Singapore. On February 29, the second case involving a Filipino was diagnosed positive and is at the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH). On March 2, it was reported that another Filipino living in Singapore as a domestic helper was diagnosed with the coronavirus and is also treated at NTFGH. On March 4, Singapore announced that the first Filipino case has recovered from the virus.
On March 4, it was announced that a Filipino working in Hong Kong as an overseas worker tested positive for the virus and was immediately placed in quarantine. The Philippine consulate in Hong Kong has reported that two of the Filipinos working in HK who was diagnosed positive were not showing the symptoms with one of them expected to be discharged soon.
On March 9, two Filipinos in Lebanon were tested positive for the virus before they were placed under quarantine in Beirut.
On March 10, a Filipina from Italy was confirmed to have contracted the virus in Switzerland.
On March 11, three Filipinos in Singapore were tested positive with the virus. All three had been to the Philippines recently with one of them visiting a relative with pneumonia. The DOH also confirmed that six Filipinos aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship, which docked in Oakland, California, for quarantine, have contracted the virus. The DFA is currently awaiting the approval of the U.S. Department of State for the repatriation of the affected Filipino nationals.
On March 13, a Filipino working in New York as a diplomat with the Philippines' UN mission was confirmed to be positive for the virus, which led to the entire mission at Philippine Center being disinfected and closed for the day.
On March 14, two Filipinos working in Singapore were confirmed to have the virus and are being isolated and treated.
On March 15, it was reported that 77 Filipinos in Japan have recovered from the virus while three are still in the hospital. Two Filipinos in Singapore have recovered. Four in the UAE are in isolation. It was reported in France that two Filipinos were infected, but one of them has recovered.
On March 19, a Filipino woman working in Kuwait as a domestic worker has been confirmed positive for the virus, due to being in close contact with someone who traveled to the UK.
Two Filipinos abroad tested positive on March 22; one in Brunei and another in India. The Filipino patient in India was admitted to a hospital in Mumbai. On March 23, Philippine Council for Foreign Relations President Alan Ortiz died in Paris, France.
Following an international tabligh convention held from February 7 to March 1, 2020, at the Jamek Sri Petaling mosque near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the DFA reported that 19 Filipinos who attended the convention tested positive and were quarantined in Malaysia. Two others managed to return to the Philippines and later tested positive by Philippine health authorities.
There have been 10 confirmed cases of foreign nationals who went to the Philippines as of April 3.
|FC No.||Nationality||Age||Sex||Travel dates in the country||Date of onset
|Date of diagnosis|
|1||Japanese||44||Male||February 21||February 28||February 28||March 4|
|2||Taiwanese||38||Male||February 28||March 3||March 2||March 5|
|3||Australian||60||Female||February 12||March 2||March 2||March 4|
|4||Japanese||37||Male||February 20||February 28||February 28||March 5|
|5||Singaporean||40||Male||March 1||March 3||March 3||March 7|
|6||South Korean||N/A||Female||January 1||February 28||February 29||March 10|
|7||American[a]||31||Male||March 2||March 8||N/A||March 12|
|8||Chinese||38||Male||March 11||N/A||March 12|
|9||French[b]||41||Male||March 12||March 13||N/A||March 15|
|–[c]||Hongkonger||37||Male||March 2||March 8||March 8||March 11|
The DOH uses the designation "patients under investigation" (PUIs) and "persons under monitoring" (PUMs) to manage suspected and confirmed cases. PUIs involved individuals who had a travel history to Wuhan but by February 3, the DOH has expanded the scope of PUIs to include individuals who had a travel history to any part of China.
As of March 14, there are 912 total PUIs; 694 of which had been discharged or refused admission (but are still "under monitoring"), 209 are currently admitted at a health facility (including 56 confirmed cases), and eight had died (only one of which is an unconfirmed case). The sole PUI mortality not confirmed resulting from the coronavirus is that of a 29-year-old Chinese national from Yunnan confined at a Manila hospital who died from pneumonia and also tested positive for HIV.
The first case overall in Mindanao is a resident of Lanao del Sur who went home from San Juan, Metro Manila. The case was that of a 54-year-old man who was admitted at the Adventist Medical Center in his home province and was referred to the Northern Mindanao Medical Center on March 8, a health facility outside the region in Cagayan de Oro after he is suspected to have COVID-19. The case was confirmed on March 11. The man had no known travel history abroad and was suspected to have contracted the disease while he was in Metro Manila.
The first confirmed COVID-19 case in the Cordillera Administrative Region is a resident of Manobo town in Abra province. The case confirmed on March 14, involved a 39-year old seafarer who came from the United Arab Emirates. He consulted a hospital in San Fernando, La Union on March 10 and was designated as a person under investigation after he developed fever but was allowed to go home to Abra. He attended festivities in Abra prior to visiting a relative in La Union.
The second confirmed case in the region was a 61-year-old female Overseas Filipino Worker from Italy. The woman who returned to the Philippines on March 2 was admitted to the Baguio General Hospital, and is the first case to be admitted to a health facility in the Cordilleras. Her case was confirmed on March 23, 2020.
The first COVID-19 case in Mimaropa was confirmed on March 20. The case involved a 26-year-old male Australian tourist in Palawan who had already left the province at the time of confirmation. The tourist arrived in Manila on March 5 before taking a flight to Puerto Princessa. The man stayed for five days in a resort in San Vicente prior to seeking medical consultation after he exhibited symptoms. He was brought to the Palawan Provincial Hospital in Puerto Princessa for sample collection for testing on March 14. The tourist managed to secure clearance after two days to take a "mercy flight" to get out of the province to Clark after his fever subsided.
The Department of Health announced on March 27, the first three cases in the Bicol Region. The cases were that of two male patients (50 and 53 years old) confined at the Bicol Regional Training Hospital in Daraga, Albay and a 48-year-old female in Naga, Camarines Sur.
Western Visayas confirmed its first case on March 20. The case was that of a 56-year-old man in Bacolod who has a history of travelling to the United Kingdom and Metro Manila. The man arrived in Negros Occidental on February 29 and has fully recovered by March 31. The first recorded death in the region that of a 62-year-old female in Bacolod occurred on March 31. The following day, cases of local transmission was confirmed in Bacolod and the municipalities of Guimbal and Lambunao in Iloilo province. All component local government units but Antique and Guimaras has confirmed at least one case of COVID-19 as of April 1.
The first case recorded in Eastern Visayas was that of a 51-year-old woman who is a resident of Catarman, Northern Samar and was admitted to a referral hospital outside the province in Tacloban.The second case involved a 63-year-old man who is a resident of Calbayog, Samar who is also admitted to a hospital in Tacloban.
|Note: Data as of April 2, 2020; 4:00 PM (PST)|
Source: Deparment of Health's COVID-19 Case Tracker
In the table below, the general lethality of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the Philippines is presently given around 4%, implying about 4 deaths and 96 survivors per 100 cases. To compare the three well-known coronavirus diseases, the case fatality rate of the 2002 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak was higher at 11%, while that of the 2012 Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) outbreak was much higher at 36%.
The Philippine Council on Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (PCHRD-DOST) on February 7 plans to distribute an undisclosed "functional food" to help individuals with COVID-19 infection to combat the disease within a month. A "functional food" is described by the PCHRD-DOST as similar to how the herb locally known as tawa-tawa is used as a remedy against dengue. The undisclosed functional food is already used for other diseases and is not a drug that requires registration with the FDA.
The PCHRD-DOST as part of the government's interagency committee proposed funding for screening for antibodies against COVID-19 in blood specimens collected from COVID-19 PUIs in the Philippines to help contribute to international efforts to understand the disease. The DOST on April 2 announced that it is seeking collaboration with other countries such as China, Russia, South Korea, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom on endeavours related to COVID-19 vaccine development.
Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev announced that the Russian government is offering to donate to Filipino officials a Russian-developed over-the-counter drug called Cicloferon claimed to have cured the symptoms of COVID-19 on Russian patients. The FDA and DOH have classified the said drug as treatment rather than cure.
Meanwhile. even they see these as "promising" medicines that are still on trial, DOH warned against the use of drugs that are not yet approved by FDA in treating coronavirus, like Fapiravir (Avigan), Chloroquine, Hydroxychloroquine, Azithromycin, Lozartan, Remdesivir, Kaletra, and other drug cocktails, stating that those might have adverse side-effects, especially if not supervised by healthcare professionals.
The Philippines, with at least 45 other countries, is joining the World Health Organization's global solidarity trial to study the effectivity of certain drugs in treating COVID-19 patients. Dr. Marissa Alejandrija of the Philippine Society of Microbiology and Infectious Disease is the Philippines' representative in the study with Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire as the official liaison of the DOH in the multinational study.
The DOH has issued a reminder, that Level 2 and 3 hospitals cannot deny admittance of people suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 infection and refusal of admission is a "violation of the signed Performance Commitment and shall be dealt with by the PhilHealth accordingly". The department said that Level 2 and 3 hospitals can accommodate individuals with mild COVID-19 symptoms while individuals in a serious or critical condition may be transferred to one of the DOH's three referral hospitals; the RITM, Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City and the San Lazaro Hospital. On March 20, the DOH designated the Lung Center of the Philippines and the Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital in Caloocan to cater exclusively to confirmed cases of COVID-19, in order to sustain manpower, medical equipment, and facilities amid the exponential rise of cases.
On March 16, the DOH announced a revision on their protocol on hospital admission for COVID-19 positive patients. A week prior, the DOH has began sending both asymptomatic patients and individuals with mild symptoms back on their homes for quarantine and continued health monitoring until they have been deemed recovered. Priority are given to high-risk patients or those with severe symptoms for hospital admission.
Prior to January 30, there were no medical facilities in the country that can confirm cases of the virus. Prior to that date, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Muntinlupa conducted preliminary tests on suspected cases to determine if they are infected with a coronavirus but could not detect the new strain on patients. Samples from suspected cases with confirmed coronavirus infection had to be sent abroad to the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory in Melbourne, Australia, for confirmatory testing specifically for SARS-CoV-2 strain.
In response to the pandemic following a cleared suspected case, the RITM began the process of acquiring primers and reagents to conduct confirmatory tests in the country. On January 29, it was announced that the RITM has acquired confirmatory kits to be able to test cases in the country. A laboratory for the confirmatory test became operational on January 30.
The RITM is also training personnel of four sub-national reference labs of the DOH to help them develop capability to test samples from "patients under investigation" (PUIs). These laboratories are at the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila, the Baguio General Hospital in Baguio, the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City, and the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City. The DOH has also allowed private health facilities to seek testing accreditation. By March 20, the four health facilities has started testing.
Likewise, the Western Visayas Medical Center in Iloilo City was given accreditation by the DOH to conduct COVID-19 tests on March 18, 2020. Testing sites are also being planned at the Bicol Public Health Laboratory and Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center in Tacloban.
There are also initiatives from local government units to set up their own testing centers including Marikina and Muntinlupa. The Marikina city government procured 3,000 testing kits locally developed by UP-NIH. Its operation is still subject to approval by the DOH as of March 23. Muntinlupa plans to set up a testing site at the Ospital ng Muntinlupa also subject to DOH's approval.
Humanitarian organizations such as the Philippine Red Cross will soon undergo mass testing initially for Quezon City residents, according to Chairman Sen. Richard Gordon. Two polymerase-chain reaction machines will be used for testing purposes.
Stage 5[clarification needed] COVID-19 testing facilities
Stage 4[clarification needed] COVID-19 testing facilities
By March 9, 2020, a total of 2,000 tests has been conducted at a rate of 200 to 250 people accommodated by tests per day. The testing capacity of the Philippine government has been expanded by late March 2020. As of March 23, the RITM alone can test 600 people per day, other laboratories except the facility of San Lazaro Hospital can do 100 tests, while San Lazaro Hospital can do 50 tests per day. There has been a slowing down of the turnout of test results. By March 27, the releasing of test results conducted at the RITM takes five to seven days due to backlog. But the DOH in the same day said that the RITM has committed to reduce the turnaround back to two to three days or the rate prior to the backlog by next Sunday or Monday from that date.
A testing kit for the virus was announced on February 4 to have been developed by the National Institutes of Health at the University of the Philippines Manila. The kit was developed two weeks prior to the announcement and was subject to evaluation by the DOH. The equipment is a polymerase chain reaction testing kit and is to be produced by Manila HealthTek. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave the product a certificate of exemption on March 9 allowing it to be used under field validation until the testing kit receives validation from the World Health Organization. The testing kit is reportedly six times cheaper than its foreign counterparts.
The RITM on February 26, reportedly is purchasing 19,000 testing kits from a source abroad. The number of testing kits by March 9 is around 2,000 from a high of 4,500 at an unspecified date. The government experienced a shortage of testing kits and has prioritized individuals exhibiting symptoms for testing.
|Nucleic acid detection kit for 2019 ncov||Shanghai GenoeDx Biotech (China)|
|Novel coronavirus 2019-ncov nucleic acid detection kit (Fluorescence PCR method)||Beijing Applied Biological (China)|
|AllplexTM 2019-nCoV Assay||Seegene (South Korea)|
|Solgent DiaPlexQ Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Detection Kit||Solgent (South Korea)|
|Standard M nCoV Real-time Detection Kit||SD Biosensor (South Korea)|
|A Star Fortitude Kit 2.0 (COVID-19 Real-Time RT-PCR TEST)||Accelerate Technologies (Singapore)|
|Tib Molbiol Lightmix Modular Wuhan CoV RdRP-GENE||Tib Molbiol Syntheselabor (Germany)|
|Tib Molbiol Lightmix Modular SARS and Wuhan COV E-GENE|
|Genesig Real-Time PCR Coronavirus (COVID-19) CE IVD Kit||Primerdesign (United Kingdom)|
|BDDS - CerTest - SARS-CoV2 BD MAX assay (Severe Acute Syndrome-Associated Coronavirus IVDs [CT772])||Certest Biotech (Spain)|
|Biofire COVID-19 Test||Biofire Defense (United States)|
|2019-nCov Nucleic Acid-based Diagnostic Reagent Kit (Fluorescent PCR)||Sansure Biotech (China)|
This section needs expansion with: Department of Health's testing criteria. You can help by adding to it. (March 2020)
Early COVID-19 testing in the Philippines was limited with only persons with travel history to countries with cases of local transmission and those with exposure to the individuals confirmed to have COVID-19. The testing protocols were revised sometime in mid-March 2020 to give priority to testing of any individual with severe symptoms as well as to the elderly, pregnant and immunocompromised persons with at least mild symptoms.
In late March, some politicians were tested for the virus despite not showing any symptoms which causing public backlash amidst a shortage on testing kits since it was against DOH guidelines to test asymptomatic individuals.
On March 24, the DOH announced that it is planning to revise its COVID-19 testing guidelines again to allow people with mild symptoms to get tested due to increased testing capability and stockpile of testing kits.
On March 9, 2020, the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) index lost 457.77 points or 6.76%, its steepest decline since the financial crisis of 2007–08. The following day, shares plunged by 6.23% to ₱5,957.35 (US$117.54), settling below the 6,000 level benchmark and entering bear market territory. The mining and oil industries were the most affected with a 9.05% drop, followed by holding companies with 6.93% drop. The PSE's circuit breaker mechanism was invoked for the second time since the measure's introduction in 2008 halting trade for 15 minutes.
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) revised its economic growth outlook for the Philippines in 2020 from a 6.5% to 7.5% gross domestic product (GDP) growth registered in late 2019, to a 5.5% to 6.5% GDP growth, following the pandemic. The NEDA cited the decline in service exports, especially tourism. Moody's Analytics also reduced its GDP growth outlook for the country, from 5.9% in 2019 to 4.9% following the pandemic.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno and NEDA Director-General Ernesto Pernia forecast that the Philippine economy would likely enter a recession in 2020 due to the effect of the pandemic. Diokno stated that, although the first quarter is likely to grow by 3% since the Luzon-wide "enhanced" community quarantine only took effect near the end of the quarter, the second and third quarters would likely experience contractions in economic growth. However, the BSP forecasts that the inflation rate may lower to 2.4% in March from 2.6% in February and 2.9% in January due to a decrease in the price of oil from $85 to $30 per barrel as a result of the pandemic.
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines estimates that around 7,000 people may lose jobs within the first half of 2020 due to the pandemic. This followed Philippine Airlines' decision to lay off 300 of its workers due to losses caused by the pandemic. Philippines AirAsia also dropped its plan to debut in the PSE within 2020 and decided to focus on expanding its domestic operations after government ban on China and South Korea which threatened 30% of its revenue. Employees of Cebu Pacific, the country's largest airline, compromised on a pay cut amounting to 10% in order to avoid layoffs. However, Cebu Pacific eventually laid off over 150 cabin crew personnel near the end of the first quarter as more countries and provinces in the Philippines implemented travel restrictions, affecting its flights.
The DOH issued an advisory for the cancellation of large public events and mass gatherings, such as concerts, until further notice in an effort to minimize the risk of spreading the disease. This prompted several local and international artists to either cancel or postpone their scheduled concerts and fan meets, including 98 Degrees, Mitch Albom, Ogie Alcasid and Ian Veneracion, Noah Centineo and Lana Condor, EXO, Green Day, Hyukoh, Ji Chang-wook, Jimmy Eat World, Tori Kelly, Khalid, Nadech Kugimiya and Urassaya Sperbund, Avril Lavigne, Alanis Morissette, One Ok Rock, Ong Seung Wu, the Pulp Summer Slam festival, the Rakrakan Festival, the cast of Running Man, SB19, Scorpion, Slipknot, Stereolab, Gary Valenciano, Swing Out Sister, and the Wanderland Music and Arts Festival.
Local television networks temporarily stopped admitting live audience for their television shows, including variety shows Eat Bulaga! on GMA Network as well as It's Showtime and ASAP on ABS-CBN. On March 13, both ABS-CBN and GMA announced that they would suspend productions on their drama shows as well as other entertainment programs by March 15, replacing affected programs with reruns of previous series or extended newscast runs.
On March 18, CNN Philippines was forced to go off air after an employee working at the Worldwide Corporate Center in Mandaluyong, where the network's headquarters is situated, was confirmed to be positive with COVID-19. CNN Philippines continued its coverage via its online platforms, and returned on air on March 23.
Broadcast radio companies such as the Manila Broadcasting Company, Aliw Broadcasting Corporation, Radio Mindanao Network, Bombo Radyo Philippines, and broadcast members of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas are also implementing their operations during the quarantine period; either shortening their broadcast hours and/or temporary suspension of regular programming "in favor of special broadcasts". On April 1, DZMM and its television counterpart suspended their regular programming after their entire personnel must undergo 14-day self-quarantine following their exposure to 2 PUIs; its programming was temporarily replaced with the hookup from ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) until further notice.
In accordance with directives from the Philippine government, several fast food and restaurant chains suspended dine-in services and restricted operations to take-out and delivery. Following the Luzon-wide "enhanced" community quarantine, online food ordering services such as GrabFood and Foodpanda temporarily halted but eventually resumed operations in Luzon during the quarantine period.
Shortage of medical masks was reported in various parts of the country due to concerns over the pandemic. RITM director Celia Carlos urged the public against hoarding masks to ensure ample supply for medical workers directly dealing with patients suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 infection. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), in cooperation with the Philippine National Police, are acting against reports of traders hoarding face masks and selling said item at an overpriced rate. The DTI has also directed its Philippine International Trading Corp. to import 5 million masks from overseas. Medtecs International Corp. Ltd., the sole manufacturer of medical mask in the country, has committed to provide supply to the government through the DTI.
Doctors in the Philippines have deplored the shortages in personal protective equipment (PPE) amid the pandemic. The office of Vice President Leni Robredo raised about ₱28.8 million ($564,551) to purchase 64,367 sets of PPE and donate it to front line health professionals across the country. The first batch consisted of 7,350 PPEs that were donated to 490 professionals in eight hospitals in Manila and Quezon City with COVID-19 cases. By March 24, Robredo's office had delivered 23,475 sets of PPE to 62 medical facilities and communities across Metro Manila, La Union, and Quezon. Robredo also partnered with fashion designer Mich Dulce to mass-produce PPEs that utilize locally sourced Taffeta fabric; the Vice President pledged to help donate the PPEs to medical professionals across the country.
According to the Philippine Retailers Association, the "total retail environment" saw a decline of 30–50%. SM Investments, the country's largest retailer, saw a decline of 10–20% in domestic sales. Despite the decline, most retail stores that provide essential services, including supermarkets, convenience stores, hardware stores, and pharmacies, remained open across the country in order to sustain consumers while other establishments at malls closed down. Such retail stores, however, imposed strict social distancing measures with some supermarkets only allowing 50 customers inside at a time and placing stickers on the floor to indicate that customers must stand one meter apart from each other. Stores were also regularly disinfected and customers were required to undergo a temperature check before entering. In the Greater Manila Area, several online grocers continued to operate, but with limited delivery slots. Panic buying and hoarding became rampant across the country, especially with essential goods such as food and sanitation products. The Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association reported that the purchases of masks, alcohol, and other personal hygiene products in supermarkets across the country had already surged, urging the public against panic buying.
Economic think tank Fitch Solutions forecasts that the consumer and retail sector, especially non-essential businesses, would be one of the hardest hit sectors in the Philippines as it loses sales revenue for an entire month due to the Luzon "enhanced" community quarantine (Luzon accounts for 73% of the country's GDP). Fitch Solutions forecasts the household final consumption expenditure for the country in 2020 to expand by 6.7% year-over-year, which was adjusted from a "pre-coronavirus projection" for 2020 of 7% growth year-over-year.
Several ongoing sports leagues in the Philippines, such as the ASEAN Basketball League, Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League, National Collegiate Athletic Association, Philippine Basketball Association, Philippines Football League, Philippine Super Liga, and the University Athletic Association of the Philippines, were suspended. Upcoming sporting competitions hosted by the country, specifically the 2020 ASEAN Para Games, the 2020 Palarong Pambansa in Marikina, and the Philippine National Games, were postponed.
Regional qualification games involving Philippine national teams were likewise postponed; the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualification home match of the Philippine men's national basketball team against Thailand scheduled for February 20 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum was rescheduled, while FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation suspended the Philippine national football team's three remaining matches in the second round of qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Some games, however, pushed through but were played behind closed doors to prevent the spread of the virus amongst the audience. Prior to the suspension of the Philippine Super Liga, three matches in the PSL Grand Prix Conference on March 10 were played at an empty Filoil Flying V Centre. On March 11, local football team Ceres–Negros F.C. played their 2020 AFC Cup home match against Bali United F.C. behind closed doors at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Cancelled sports leagues and tournaments in the Philippines due to COVID-19 pandemic:
The NEDA during a House of Representative committee hearing said that the coronavirus pandemic would incur a ₱22.7 billion ($448 million) monthly loss of tourism revenue and the impact of the pandemic could last around five to six months based from past experiences from the SARS, H1N1, and the MERS outbreaks. Over 5,200 flights covering two months which was to be serviced by member airlines of the Air-Carriers Association of the Philippines was canceled.
The National Museum of the Philippines temporarily closed its complex in Manila and all branch museums throughout the country. On March 13, the National Parks Development Committee also closed Rizal Park and Paco Park until further notice while the Intramuros Administration closed several sites in Intramuros, including Fort Santiago, Museo de Intramuros, and Casa Manila.
The following are canceled and postponed festivals due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic:
On March 9, 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte suspended classes at all levels in Metro Manila until March 14, in response to the rise in confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines. Prior to that, Navotas Mayor Toby Tiangco had already suspended classes in the city as a preventive measure. He also appealed to the Department of Education (DepEd) to pass all Navoteño students for the remainder of the academic year. Some towns in Rizal, namely Cainta, Rodriguez, San Mateo, and Taytay, also suspended classes following confirmation of at least two cases in the province. Classes in Metro Manila were extended until April 14 when President Duterte placed the area under a partial lockdown on March 9, which was later superseded on March 16 by the declaration of an "enhanced" community quarantine covering the wider Luzon island. On March 16, the DepEd issued guidelines prohibiting public schools in areas with suspended classes from administering the final examinations for students and to instead compute the final grades of students for the academic year based on "their current academic standing." The DepEd also advised schools in areas without suspension to immediately administer final examinations within that week on a "staggered basis" and for teachers and students to observe social distancing measures.
Prior to the announcement of the "enhanced" community quarantine, the University of the Philippines Diliman announced on March 12 that it would implement online learning alternatives for all its classes. The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) advised other institutions of higher education in the Philippines in the Philippines to implement distance education methods of learning for its classes, such as the use of educational technology, in order to maximize the academic term despite the suspensions; Adamson University, the Ateneo de Manila University, Centro Escolar University, De La Salle–College of Saint Benilde, De La Salle University Manila, Emilio Aguinaldo College, Lyceum of the Philippines University, National University, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, San Beda University, the Technological University of the Philippines, University of the East, University of the Philippines (Baguio, Cebu, Los Baños, Manila, Mindanao, Visayas), and the University of Santo Tomas, implemented such arrangements for its classes. However, following the announcement of the "enhanced" community quarantine in Luzon and other areas, colleges and universities suspended mandatory online classes in consideration of the welfare of its students, faculty, and staff. Academic administration offices continued to operate with a skeleton crew, while other offices in colleges and universities operated through telecommuting arrangements. Some schools, however, continued to hold online classes, such as Colegio de San Juan de Letran, De La Salle Araneta University, Far Eastern University, Mapúa University, Philippine Women's University, Rizal Technological University, St. Paul University Manila, and the Universidad de Manila. Several student groups appealed to CHED to suspend mandatory online classes in consideration of the logistical limitations and well-being of a majority of students.
Following the declaration of the "enhanced" community quarantine and amid the rapid rise in confirmed cases in the country, numerous local governments suspended classes, including Aklan, Bacolod, Baguio, Batangas, Bulacan, Cebu, Iligan, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Kidapawan, Negros Oriental, Oroquieta, Santa Rosa, Siniloan, South Cotabato, and Tacloban.
The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) has suspended the nationwide voter registration on March 10 until the end of the month due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The registration period began January 20, 2020 and is scheduled to run until September 30, 2021. The suspension was later extended to last until the end of April. The issuance of voter's certification is also suspended until further notice. The next nationwide elections scheduled in the Philippines is in May 2022.
The plebiscite to ratify a legislation which proposes the partition of Palawan into three smaller provinces scheduled for May 2020 may be delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The province provincial legislature has called for a special session and is expected to pass a resolution allowing Governor Jose Alvarez to ask the COMELEC to postpone the plebiscite. Anti-partition advocacy group One Palawan, has also called for the postponement of the plebiscite reasoning the ₱80 million ($1.6 million) budget allocated for the plebiscite could be used to fund the provincial government's efforts against COVID-19.
Ruffy Biazon, a member of the House of Representatives from Muntinlupa, called on the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) on January 22 to suspend flights from Wuhan to the Philippines. Royal Air Charter Service operates direct flights from Wuhan to Kalibo. By then, Philippine travel visas under the "visa-upon-arrival" (VUA) program were denied to tourists from Wuhan. On January 24, the Philippine government deported 135 individuals from Wuhan who arrived in the country through the Kalibo International Airport. There were calls for a wider temporary ban on people entering the country from anywhere in China. This was supported by Senators Ralph Recto, Bong Go, Risa Hontiveros, and Francis Pangilinan however, the DOH and the Office of the President find no urgent need for such a measure.
On January 31, a travel ban on all Chinese nationals from Hubei and other affected areas in China was imposed. The VUA program for Chinese tourists and businessmen was also suspended. On February 2, a ban was introduced on all foreign travelers who visited China, Hong Kong, and Macau in the past 14 days; Philippine citizens and holders of permanent resident visas were allowed in the country but subjected to a mandatory 14-day quarantine. The Philippine government also ordered a ban on travel to China, Hong Kong, and Macau until further notice. On February 10, the ban was further extended to include Taiwan but was lifted on February 15. On February 14, the DOH announced that a risk assessment carried out to determine if Singapore would be placed under a travel ban. Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. announced that he would not fully support any official travel bans to Singapore. On February 26, travel to South Korea was banned, except for permanent residents, Filipino leaving for study, and Overseas Filipino Workers returning for work.
The Philippine Ports Authority had barred disembarkation by crew or passengers from vessels that have recently visited China and suspended the visitation privileges of relatives of Filipino seafarers and boarding privileges of non-government organizations providing emotional and spiritual support to seafarers.
On March 19, Locsin announced that the Philippine government would deny the entry of all foreign nationals, effective that day "until further notice". All Philippine embassies and consulates would suspend the issuing of its visas to all foreign nationals and invalidate all existing ones. However, Locsin clarified that visas that had already been issued to families of Filipino nationals would remain valid.
On March 22, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) ordered a travel ban to all foreign nationals, with the exception of returning or repatriated overseas Filipinos, foreign spouses of Filipino citizens (and their children), and workers for international organizations and non-governmental organizations accredited in the country.
Following the confirmation of the first localized transmission on March 7, the DOH raised its alert to Code Red Sub-Level 1. Health Secretary Francisco Duque and Senator Bong Go, chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, recommended to President Duterte to declare a public health emergency in the country, which would authorize local government units to employ their local disaster risk reduction management funds. President Duterte issued Proclamation No. 922 on March 9, formally declaring a public health emergency.
The Department of Trade and Industry on March 9 issued a directive ordering retailers should only allow the sale of two bottles of each type of disinfectant per person as a measure against hoarding. In line with the public health emergency declaration, the department imposed a 60-day price freeze on basic commodities.
On March 16, the president signed Proclamation No. 929 declaring a state of calamity throughout the country for six months, bringing into effect the following:
The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) announced that it would provide ₱30-billion ($581-million) worth of advance payment to its accredited health facilities for health care providers to obtain the liquid capital required to efficiently respond to the crisis. PhilHealth also subsided some of its policies on its members; it waived the 45-day coverage and single period of confinement policies while extending payment deadlines until the end of April and the failing period of claims from 60 days to at least 120 days. Also, PhilHealth announced that PUIs quarantined in its accredited facilities are entitled to a ₱14,000 ($270) health package, while those who tested positive for COVID-19 are entitled to a ₱32,000 ($580) beneficiary package.
The Department of Labor and Employment announced it would initiate a cash assistance program worth ₱2 billion ($39 million) for workers in both the formal and informal sectors across the country affected by government-imposed quarantines. As of March 31, the department reported that at least 25,428 formal sectors and 5,220 informal sector workers were given cash assistance of ₱5,000 ($98) each.
Following the sharp increase of confirmed cases, President Duterte called on Congress to hold special sessions on March 23 to enact the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act upon his request, which would "authorize the President to exercise powers necessary to carry out urgent measures to meet the current national emergency related to COVID-19 only for three months unless extended by Congress." The act would allow President Duterte to "reallocate, realign, and reprogram" a budget of almost ₱275 billion ($5.37 billion) from the estimated ₱438 billion ($8.55 billion) national budget approved for 2020, in response to the pandemic; enable him to "temporarily take over or direct the operations" of public utilities and privately owned health facilities and other necessary facilities "when the public interest so requires" for quarantine, the accommodation of health professionals, and the distribution and storage of medical relief; and "facilitate and streamline" the accreditation of testing kits.
In the Philippine House of Representatives, the bill was introduced as House Bill No. 6616 with House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano of Pateros–Taguig as its principal sponsor and was defended on the floor by Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte of Camarines Sur's 2nd district. Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea addressed the session, stressing that the president needed "standby powers" to address the emergency. Some representatives questioned the nature, usage, and necessity of the "standby powers", claiming its susceptibility to abuse and corruption.
In the Senate of the Philippines, the bill was introduced as Senate Bill No. 1418 with Senate President Tito Sotto and Senator Pia Cayetano as its principal sponsors. Under the bill, Senator Cayetano said that over 18 million Filipino households living below the poverty line would also receive financial incentives of around ₱5,000–8,000 ($97.45–155.92) per month for two months. Senators amended their version of the bill to include financial compensation of around ₱100,000 ($1,965.33) to be given by PhilHealth to health professionals who contracted the virus, as well as the provision of around ₱1 million-worth ($19,653.27) of financial aid to their families.
Both versions of the bill reportedly removed the usage of the term "emergency powers", replacing it with "authority". It also removed the term "take over of public utilities and private businesses", limiting President Duterte's abilities at most to "direct the operations" of such enterprises. The House version of the bill passed the House of Representatives in a 284–9 vote without abstentions, while its Senate version unanimously passed the Senate. President Duterte signed the bill into law the following day.
Given the rapidly increasing number of cases in the National Capital Region, Albay 2nd district representative Joey Salceda proposed a week-long lockdown of the region to prevent the disease from spreading nationwide. Salceda specifically proposed the closure of the Philippine expressway network and public transportation accessing the region, in addition to the suspension of classes and work. President Duterte initially rejected the proposal claiming it would "hamper the flow of basic commodities". Secretary Duque, however, raised the possibility of a lockdown on certain cities or towns if cases of community-based transmissions are reported, but not an entire region. On March 12, President Duterte announced a partial lockdown covering Metro Manila, that began on March 15 and will last until April 14. Under the partial lockdown:
In addition, President Duterte advised local government units outside of the National Capital Region to implement a community quarantine in cases where, in a given level of local government, at least two COVID-19 cases are confirmed within a lower level of its jurisdiction; for example, a province-wide quarantine should be implemented if there are at least two COVID-19 cases confirmed within different cities or municipalities in the same province, while a city/municipality-wide quarantine should be implemented if there are at least two COVID-19 cases confirmed within different barangays in the same city or municipality. Local government units were also authorized to utilize their quick response funds upon declaration of a state of emergency.
Cainta also initiated a partial lockdown on March 15, after three cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the municipality. Bohol Governor Arthur C. Yap announced that the province would be placed under community quarantine from March 16 to 20 and will prohibit tourists from entering during the quarantine period.
On March 17, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles announced that the Office of the President, through the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, had rescinded the 72-hour window for which Overseas Filipinos and foreign nationals were allowed to depart the country from Luzon. As such, outbound passengers are permitted to depart the Philippines at any time during the period of the "enhanced" community quarantine, but Filipino residents are still prohibited from doing so.
On March 18, Albay Governor Francis Bichara placed the province under lockdown, ordering the temporarily closure of the province's borders. Bichara stated that only delivery vehicles of essential goods may be permitted entry and exit of the province, subject to inspection and sanitation procedures. He also stated that the measure may shorten the period of the Luzon-wide "enhanced" community quarantine for the province by 15 days, if successful.
On March 19, the provincial government of Bulacan carried out the enhanced community quarantine measures, effectively placing the entire province under a lockdown. Classes were suspended until April 14; public transportation systems were put on hold, with the movement of the populace limited to the accessibility of essential needs including basic goods and healthcare services; vital establishments were allowed to remain open, and a curfew from 8:00 in the evening to 5:00 in the morning was set up. Barangays in several municipalities (such as Bocaue) had issued passes that permit only one member of a family to leave their house for acquiring basic provisions.
On March 23, Pangasinan Governor Amado Espino III placed the province under an "extreme enhanced community quarantine" after health officials confirmed four cases of the virus in the province. Under the said measure, Espino stated that residents and visitors are prohibited from entering and exiting provincial borders. In addition, authorities in Malasiqui placed the municipality under a separate "extreme enhanced community quarantine" as two of the four confirmed cases were residents of the municipality.
On March 24, Misamis Oriental Governor Yevgeny Emano ordered a general community quarantine on the province until April 14, banning the entry of visitors and implementing a province-wide curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. the following day.
On March 28, Laguna Governor Ramil Hernandez placed the province under a "total lockdown" following its rise in COVID-19 cases to more than 20. Hernandez said the "total lockdown" restricts the movement of people to only front line staff, private firm employees involved in basic services, and only one person per household to purchase essential supplies. That same day, Bacacay Mayor Armando Romano ordered a 24-hour lockdown on the municipality after a resident tested positive.
Local governments also took preventive measures against the pandemic. The local government of Sagada closed all government-managed tourist destinations in the municipality. The local government of Samal has also barred all foreigners coming from countries affected by the coronavirus pandemic as well as all individuals suspected to have been infected with the virus, and those who were previously quarantined from entering the island city. Mayor Kit Nieto of Cainta, where the fifth case resided, ordered the immediate provision of face masks and disinfectants in areas near the residence of the patient. The patient's family, as well as his neighbors, were placed under quarantine. Nieto suspended classes in Cainta from March 7 to 10 and placed the city under community quarantine since March 15. On March 20, 2020, the local government of La Trinidad, Benguet began disinfection in the area, including the Halsema Highway.
On March 13, 2020, the mayors of Cebu City, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu suspended classes in all levels for both private and public schools as a preventive measure against the spread of the virus. The suspension of classes in Cebu City and Lapu-Lapu was scheduled until March 28. Schools, however, were required to implement distance education measures.
On March 15, Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia announced the imposition of a province-wide curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. the following day. Garcia also announced that the Mactan–Cebu International Airport and the Port of Cebu would suspend all arrivals and departures of domestic passenger travel, effective March 17. She added that residents of Cebu would still be allowed to depart the island province, but they would only be allowed to re-enter after 30 days. That same day, Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella placed the city under a "general community quarantine" from March 16 to April 14; under the quarantine, health checkpoints would be established in the city's 11 entry points, the suspension of classes in the city was extended until April 14, and a four-day workweek was scheduled for city government workers from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
On March 16, following the imposition of a "general community quarantine" in Cebu City, Mayor Labella issued an executive order prohibiting the sale, distribution, and consumption of alcoholic beverages in all public places.
On March 19, Mayor Labella ordered the temporary closure of all commercial establishments in the city, including all malls and the Cebu City Sports Complex but excluding establishments providing essential goods and services, until the end of the "general community quarantine".
On March 25, Governor Garcia signed Executive Order No. 5-N placing the entire Cebu province under enhanced community quarantine from March 27. Due to this, mass public transports are suspended and restricting land and sea travel.
On March 13, 2020, Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Manotoc issued Executive Order No. 59-20 which suspended classes in private and public institutions indefinitely and mandated the duties of school officials/administrators and parents/guardians, which included the adoption of and participation in alternative measures for course completion. On March 14, 2020, he signed Executive Order No. 60-20 which placed the province under community quarantine. The order activated Task Force Salun-at, which was previously institutionalized under Executive Order No. 51-20. Under the provisions of Executive Order No. 60-20, Task Force Salun-at was given authority over the province to deny entry to certain individuals based on criteria specified in the order, and enforce checking of individuals seeking entry and required clearance, endorsement, quarantine, and monitoring. The executive order also included provisions for the:
In Ilocos Sur, Governor Ryan Luis V. Singson issued Executive Order No. 12 and Executive Order No. 13, on March 12 and 13, 2020, respectively. The executive orders mandated the suspension of classes at all levels from March 13 to April 12, 2020, as well as the suspension of other school activities that involve the gathering of crowds, at both public and private schools in the province.
On March 15, the province was placed under community quarantine through Executive Order No. 14 which restricted the movement of people to and from Ilocos Sur, mandated the establishment of checkpoints and conditions for transportation and travel, prohibited social gatherings, encouraged flexible/alternative work arrangements or suspension of work, suspended tourism, prohibited hoarding, delineated rules for business establishments, and imposed a curfew.
On March 31, Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo signed an executive order placing the entire province under enhanced community quarantine from April 3 to 18. Under the said order, residents must stay at home, limit the business hours for selected establishments, and suspending the mass public transit, and restrict land and sea travel among others.
On March 15, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio issued Executive Order No. 23, placing the entire city under general community quarantine effective on the said date. The community quarantine orders the suspension of classes, prohibiting public mass gatherings, and encouraged flexible/alternative work arrangements or suspension of work for both government and private sectors. The annual Araw ng Dabaw festival, as Duterte-Carpio previously stated, was cancelled.
On April 2, Mayor Duterte-Carpio issued Executive Order No. 23, placing the entire city under enhanced community quarantine from April 4 to 19. Under the enhanced quarantine, government workers are required to adapt the "work from home" policy except those who are in the security, health, and social services among others who continue to work in full operation. It also allows workers in the private sector involving essential services. Public transport is also suspended except those who are hired to work by the city government.
The government began the repatriation of Filipino nationals in China on January 18. Flights were organized to repatriate Filipinos in the Hubei. Upon arrival in the Philippines, individuals underwent mandatory quarantine for 14 days.
The Mega Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center at Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija and Caballo Island in Manila Bay are being considered as possible quarantine sites for repatriated Filipinos. President Duterte said that the government may seize private property for conversion to quarantine sites. It was later decided that the Athlete's Village at the New Clark City Sports Hub which also has a clinic run by the Philippine General Hospital will be used as a quarantine site for repatriated Filipinos. New Clark City was locked down on February 6 in preparation for the arrival of the repatriated. The first batch of repatriated Filipinos arrived at the Clark Air Base via a Royal Air chartered flight on February 9. From the airbase, designated buses transported them to the quarantine site at the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.
All 30 repatriated Overseas Filipino Workers in New Clark City received a clean bill of health and released from quarantine on February 22 along with the ten-member joint DFA-DOH Health Emergency Response Team, six flight crew members, and three ground operators which assisted in the repatriation process. During the quarantine period, none of the individuals displayed any symptoms with one woman giving birth. There are around 150 Filipinos who live in Wuhan alone, about 40 to 50 of whom have asked to be repatriated.
On March 7, the Philippine government announced that an airlift operation will be launched to bring home 167 Filipinos working in Macau.
The Philippine government announced on February 17 that they have begun the process of repatriating on board the Diamond Princess which was quarantined off the coast of Yokohama due to confirmed COVID-19 infection. 445 Filipinos (440 being crew members and 5 being passengers) were quarantined in New Clark City. The repatriates arrived in the Philippines via two separate flights on February 25 and 26.
After completing a 14-day quarantine period, repatriated seafarers will be given aid by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). Each will receive ₱10,000 from the OWWA and ₱20,000 livelihood grant will be made available to Filipino seafarers who opted to stay permanently in the Philippines.
Thirteen repatriates exhibited symptoms after arrival but all tested negative for the COVID-19.
On March 15, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) repatriated a total of 444 Filipinos (including 438 crew members and 6 passengers) from the cruise ship Grand Princess docked in the Port of Oakland in California. Repatriates arrived on March 16 at Clark International Airport and were transported to New Clark City for quarantine.
The DFA repatriated a combined total of 370 Filipinos from the Costa Luminosa, MSC Grandiosa, and MSC Opera cruise ships docked in Italy. The repatriated Filipinos arrived in Manila on March 29 and underwent a mandatory 14-day quarantine. All of them were reported to be asymptomatic upon arrival.
On March 31, the Philippine government repatriated more than 500 Filipino seafarers stranded offshore from Miami, Florida, U.S., aboard the Costa Favolosa and Costa Magica cruise ships. Both ships departed from Guadeloupe in the Caribbean with six occupants in the former and two passengers in the latter reportedly confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19. The seafarers were flown on two chartered Ethiopian Airlines flights, coordinated by the DOH, Department of Transportation, OWWA, Bureau of Quarantine, and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, that were reportedly delayed since March 29.
Several government officials, including President Duterte, opted to undergo a self-quarantine after interacting with individuals confirmed to have COVID-19. This includes almost half of all members of the Senate of the Philippines (three senators tested positive), several members of the Cabinet, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte. Several government facilities, including the offices of the Asian Development Bank, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Department of Finance, and the Government Service Insurance System (which also hosts the Senate), as well as Malacañang Palace, temporarily closed for disinfection following exposure from those officials who have interacted with a COVID-19 patient.
Local airlines AirAsia, Philippine Airlines, and Cebu Pacific suspended flights between China and its territories (Macau and Hong Kong) and the Philippines from February 2. Following the announcement of the Luzon-wide "enhanced community quarantine", Philippine Airlines suspended all its domestic flights from March 17 until April 12. On March 24, the airline announced that it would also suspend all its remaining flights from March 26 until April 14 as more countries implement travel restrictions.
Mall operators Ayala Malls and SM Supermalls have enforced stricter measures at its malls to safeguard larger volumes of customers and employees. These include temperature checks at mall entrances, an increase in the availability of alcohol and hand sanitizer dispensers, and the disinfection of restrooms occurring at smaller time intervals. Following government directives to observe social distancing measures, some mall operators including Megaworld Lifestyle Malls have implemented a "single-seat gap" policy in cinemas, in which moviegoers are required to sit one seat apart from each other. Following the MMDA's imposition of an area-wide curfew during the Metro Manila lockdown, mall operators Ayala Malls, SM Supermalls, Robinsons Malls, Vista Malls, and the Ortigas Land Malls initially announced that it would shorten the operating hours of its malls in the area, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., in response. However, Metro Manila city governments later passed ordinances mandating the temporary closure of malls except for essential services from March 16 "until further notice", per the joint resolution passed by the Metro Manila Council regarding the lockdown.
The country's largest telecommunications services, Globe Telecom and Smart Communications, both announced that they would offer its subscribers free services during the pandemic; Globe would offer free unlimited Internet connection in some hospitals in Metro Manila from March 13 to April 15, while Smart would offer free access to government websites issuing updates and advisories, as well as toll-free access to emergency hotlines.
San Miguel Corporation, the largest corporation in the Philippines in terms of revenue, announced that its food, fuel, and power generation facilities would continue operation to provide essential services, amid the "enhanced" community quarantine in Luzon. President Ramon S. Ang gave assurances of the company's capability to produce sufficient food supplies and its commitment to continue paying its employees. On March 27, the corporation announced that all its toll roads in Luzon, particularly STAR Tollway, South Luzon Expressway, the Metro Manila Skyway, NAIA Expressway, and the Tarlac–Pangasinan–La Union Expressway, would be free of charge for all medical professionals for the duration of the "enhanced" community quarantine.
The Ayala Corporation, the country's largest corporation in terms of assets, announced a ₱2.4-billion (US$46.4 million) relief package for employees of its subsidiaries; the package comprises salary continuance, rent condonation for affected tenants of the Ayala Malls, leave conversions, loan deferments, and other financial assistance measures.
Following the declaration of an "enhanced" community quarantine on Luzon, numerous tertiary and quaternary sector companies had decided to implement a 30 to a 90-day grace period of payment deadlines for its customers. Such companies include Banco de Oro, Bank of the Philippine Islands, Cignal TV, EastWest Bank, Globe Telecom, Manila Water, Manulife, Maynilad Water Services, Meralco, PLDT, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation, Smart Communications, Security Bank, Sky Cable, Sun Cellular, Sun Life Financial, and the Union Bank of the Philippines.
The Alliance Global Group pledged to donate 1,000,000 liters (260,000 U.S. gal) of disinfectant solutions, denatured from 850,000 liters (220,000 U.S. gal) of 96% ethyl alcohol to local health facilities and other front line institutions through the DOH.
Ridesharing company Grab launched a service called "GrabBayanihan" (bayanihan is the Filipino term for communal work) to provide free, 24/7 transportation services for front line workers of the pandemic, particularly medical staff, using the company's specialized fleet of cars. Grab also deployed their scooter-sharing system to cater specifically to those front line workers for their "short-distance commutes."
McDonald's Philippines announced a ₱500 million ($9.8 million) response fund for its employees, front line workers, and its partner marginalized sector communities. The fund includes an early release of salaries of employees, a special premium pay package for employees who choose to report to work, the provision of care kits (such as face masks and alcohol), and food packages to front line workers and the marginalized sector.
The Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines has issued preventive guidelines against the pandemic through the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). In January 2020, the CBCP has issued a liturgical guideline which urges mass attendees to "practice ordinarily" the receiving of communion by hand, and avoid holding hands while praying "Our Father" during Mass. As a spiritual measure against the spread of the disease, the CBCP has also composed a oratio imperata (obligatory prayer) which is to be recited in mass. In February 2020, the CBCP issued a second liturgical guideline in anticipation of the Lenten season. The bishops suggested that during Ash Wednesday, ashes will be sprinkled on the faithfuls' head instead of the customary marking of the forehead with a cross to minimize body contact. The CBCP also urged people to refrain from kissing or touching the cross for veneration during Good Friday, particularly the celebration of the Passion of Jesus. They suggested genuflection or bowing as an alternative to the practice.
On March 9, 2020, Manila Apostolic Administrator, Broderick Pabillo, issued a pastoral letter advising practitioners and clergy members experiencing flu-like symptoms to refrain from attending Mass or visiting churches, recommending them to watch Masses through television or online streaming instead. Pabillo also ordered the provision of disinfectants in churches and chapels and the barricading of statues and sacred images to prevent people from holding or kissing them. The Archdiocese of Manila which covers churches in the cities of Manila, Makati, San Juan, Mandaluyong, and Pasay (except Villamor Air Base and Newport City areas) suspended all public religious activities including Masses from March 14 to 20, 2020. The Archdiocese of Cebu followed suit by suspending all public masses and other religious gatherings starting March 18, 2020 until further notice. Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma has directed the live streaming of Eucharistic celebrations and other religious events through social media as well as broadcasting of Holy Masses on television and radio.
The Iglesia ni Cristo suspended worship services in their chapels in Luzon as part of their compliance to the Luzon enhanced community quarantine. Members are sent guides and lessons to be read by the head of the household during Thursdays and Sundays in lieu of regular worship services. Worship services were also stopped in Cebu and members are also encouraged to watch worship services through livestreaming.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints directed missionaries assigned in the Philippines who are not native to the country to move out for temporary reassignment to another country. They were ordered to self-quarantine in their new homes for 14 days.
The Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC), an organization composed of Evangelical and Protestant church member organizations, announced the suspension of regular Sunday worship services and other regular activities for a month and instead held its services via internet and social media.
The Islamic community in the Philippines has also adopted measures against COVID-19. The Regional Darul Ifta' of Bangsamoro has suspended all congregational prayers in the Bangsamoro region from March 19 to April 10, 2020.
The government of China and the United States has pledged support to the Philippine government response against COVID-19. China announced that it would be donating medical supplies including 100,000 testing kits, 100,000 surgical masks, 10,000 N95 masks, and 10,000 sets of personal protective equipment. The United States through USAID also pledged $2.7 million worth of aid to help the Philippines develop adequate testing capabilities, and ensure the availability of medical supplies through USAID's "on-the-ground partners". China's aid was received on March 21, 2020.
On March 22, 2020, the Philippine foreign department said that the Philippines will be receiving a donation from Singapore. Singapore is donating 3,000 testing kits and a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machine.
On March 28, it was disclosed that some of the test kits made in China were only 40% accurate in testing for signs of the coronavirus on a suspected patient.
After the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines, conspiracy theories, misinformation, and disinformation emerged online regarding the origin, scale, prevention, treatment, and various other aspects of the disease. Among these hoaxes include:
The Department of Health has advised against spreading misinformation and unverified claims concerning the pandemic.
The Philippine National Police has taken action against the spread of misinformation related to the pandemic and has warned the public that misinformation purveyors could be charged for violating Presidential Decree no. 90 for "declaring local rumor, mongering and spreading false information". In the case of misinformation circulated online, violators could be charged for violating the Cybercrime Prevention Act which has a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 12 years. The Bayanihan to Heal as One Act also punishes fake news peddlers of two months jail time or fine of up to ₱1 million.
According to the DOH, the cremation of the body of the first confirmed COVID-19 death in the Philippines has been hampered by the proliferation of misinformation.
The following is the list of regions with confirmed COVID-19 cases. This includes component provinces and cities of each regions with confirmed COVID-19 cases as well. The list below may be inconsistent with the Department of Health's COVID-19 tracker due to several factors including:
Highly urbanized cities, and independent component cities are italicized except for component local government units of Metro Manila (National Capital Region).
"Since we (RITM) already had the capability for testing Thursday last week, we decided to test the sample of the other PUIs sent to us," RITM director Dr. Celia Carlos said in a separate press briefing in Malacañang.
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