MANILA: In a bid to contain coronavirus outbreak, Manila announced nighttime curfews on Saturday and urged shopping malls to close for one month.
Curfews are in place in Manila’s metropolitan region on Sunday morning and public health measures have been increased ahead of the coronavirus lockdown.
Already, the country witnessed eighth deaths and the largest single-day increase in confirmed cases. The Philippines' health department on Saturday confirmed three new fatalities, including a patient in southern Philippines, bringing the total number of deaths to eight. It also reported 34 new confirmed cases, bringing the total to 98.
President Rodrigo Duterte has raised the country's health emergency status to the highest level and issued quarantine measures in the capital, home to at least 12 million people. He also issued land and air travel restrictions to and from the capital on Thursday that will take effect on March 15, and extended school closures to April 12.
The measures in the Philippine capital, if implemented fully, would be among the strictest in Asia.
"To limit the spread of the virus, we need to limit the movement of people. We are slowing down the movement of people in Metro Manila," Jose Arturo Garcia, general manager of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, told a news conference.
Some of the capital's residents flocked to bus stations and airports ahead of the travel ban that will start Sunday. The nighttime curfew will take effect on March 15 to April 14, but some employees will be exempt, Garcia said.
Mayors will issue local ordinances for the temporary closure of malls and establishments, exempting shops offering essential services like groceries, banks and pharmacies. Manila is home to sprawling shopping malls, some of which are among the largest in the world.