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Saturday, March 14, 2020, 21:19
Philippines declares 1-month curfew in Manila to fight virus
By Agencies
Saturday, March 14, 2020, 21:19 By Agencies

Passengers wear face masks while waiting at the Araneta Center Bus Terminal in Cubao in Manila on March 13, 2020, following President Rodrigo Duterte's announcement of a local travel ban in the Philippine capital. Maria TAN / AFP

MANILA - The Philippines will impose a month-long curfew on Metro Manila, a region of 12 million people, as authorities intensify the battle to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

READ MORE: Philippines reports first death from coronavirus outside China

The curfew will last from 8 pm to 5 am starting Sunday until April 14, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority General Manager Jose Arturo Garcia Jr. said at a briefing on Saturday. The city will also be on lockdown during this period, with schools and government offices largely shut, as the number of local cases climbed this week.

The curfew will last from 8 pm to 5 am starting Sunday until April 14, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority General Manager Jose Arturo Garcia Jr. said

Workers and those involved in essential services will be exempt, while violators will be issued with a warning and will not be arrested, he said.

The total number of confirmed cases in the country has risen to 98 and eight people have died after contracting the virus. President Rodrigo Duterte, who tested negative for the coronavirus, is shutting malls, banning movie screenings and concerts as part of the measures.

All flights to and from Manila were fully booked on Saturday, Cebu Air Inc. said in a statement, as people rush to avoid the ban on domestic travel. Photos on social media showed crowds lining up in bus stations since Friday, while supermarkets in the capital were emptied of groceries as shoppers hoard goods amid the uncertainty.

ALSO READ: Duterte: China stands with Philippines to stem coronavirus

Malls will be shut, while supermarkets, hardware stores, drug stores, banks and health clinics inside them will remain open, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in a mobile-phone message on Saturday. A prohibition on mass gatherings comes into effect Sunday, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a separate mobile-phone message on Saturday.

Malls owned by developer Ayala Corp will close at 7 pm Saturday, the company said on its Facebook page.

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