The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said that the government has no choice but to limit the movement of people inside the National Capital Region (NCR) as soon as possible before the COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines becomes uncontrollable.
In an interview, DILG Sec. Eduardo M. Año urged the officials of Metro Manila to cooperate with the government during the whole period of the month-long community quarantine that the government implemented this Sunday.
To convince the Manila officials, he told them about the prediction of the World Health Organization (WHO) if ever that the Philippines act slowly against COVID-19.
“We are under a public health emergency. The first time in our history. We need to act fast otherwise the WHO (World Health Organization) projects we will have 75,000 COVID cases and we do not have the resources to meet that kind of emergency; thus, the best course of action now is to stop the spread and save the lives of our people,” Año said.
He also asked religious groups to suspend their mass gatherings to avoid more possible COVID transmission.
“We urge all our religious leaders to likewise suspend their mass or worship services during the duration of the quarantine for the sake of their members,” he said.
Año also cited the said information during an interview with DZMM on March 13.
Metro Manila is now under community quarantine, several days after President Rodrigo Duterte declared a state of a public health emergency.
Under the community quarantine, domestic land, air and sea travel are not allowed in NCR.
As of writing, there are already 111 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines.