Duterte rejects Metro Manila lockdown despite rising coronavirus cases in PH

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 9) — President Rodrigo Duterte rejected the proposed Metro Manila lockdown despite a rise in cases of novel coronavirus in the country.

Duterte announced Monday that the National Capital Region will not be under lockdown just yet.

“We haven't reached that kind of contamination. There will be a time I suppose, I hope not. I hope God will have mercy on the Filipino people. It is too early for that.” he said in a press conference at Malacanang Palace.

Duterte announced on the same press briefing that there are now 24 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines. The four additional cases are from West Crame, San Juan, Sta. Maria, Bulacan, and Project 6, Quezon City

READ: Coronavirus cases in the Philippines jump to 24

“Hindi ko sinasabi na hihintayin mo magkasakit lahat. It’s not that, but you have to balance.”

[Translation: I am not saying that we have to wait for everyone to get sick. It’s not that, but you have to balance.]

Duterte also suspended classes in all levels in Metro Manila starting tomorrow until March 14. The Health Department has declared a public health emergency in the country.

Earlier Monday, a lawmaker suggested to put Metro Manila under a lockdown since most of the cases are in NCR.

House Ways and Means Committee chairman Jose Ma. Salceda said closing off Metro Manila for at least a week will minimize the risk of mass transmission of the virus.