Malacañang: Lockdown eased for economy, not because we're safe
MANILA, Philippines – Following reports of people flocking to malls as soon as lockdown restrictions were eased, Malacañang called on the public "not to be complacent and to follow health protocols set by authorities."
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque noted in a statement on Sunday, May 17, that some went to malls "with complete disregard" of physical distancing measures on the first day of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila on Saturday, May 16.
"We must understand that we have started to slowly ease restrictions in order to revitalize the economy, and not because we are safe," Roque said.
"We must learn from other countries like South Korea, which contained the spread of the virus but later experienced a spike in COVID-19 cases when citizens became relaxed."
South Korea recently registered a surge in new coronavirus cases traced to a man who visited 5 clubs and bars in Seoul's Itaewon area, just as lockdown restrictions were eased.
Roque urged Filipinos to cooperate during the quarantine period.
"We must not put to waste our collective efforts and sacrifices. Stay at home, go out to do essential work or when authorized as we ramp up testing," he said.
"We must continue to be vigilant of the risks of COVID-19, conduct proper hygiene, wear face mask or face shield, and observe social or physical distancing."
Also on Sunday, Police Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar, commander of Joint Task Force COVID Shield, warned malls they would face closure if physical distancing is not practiced at their establishments.
The start of the MECQ on Saturday came after two months of the stricter ECQ.
Aside from Metro Manila, also under MECQ until May 31 are Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Zambales, Angeles City, and Laguna. Meanwhile, Cebu City and Mandaue City are under ECQ, and the rest of the country under general community quarantine. (DOCUMENT: Omnibus guidelines on modified ECQ, modified GCQ)
As of Sunday, the Philippines has 12,513 coronavirus cases, with 824 deaths and 2,635 recoveries. – Rappler.com