Hong Kong to ban tourists, alcohol as COVID-19 cases surge
Marje Pelayo • March 24, 2020 • 773
REUTERS – Hong Kong announced on Monday (March 23) it was stopping all tourist arrivals and transit passengers at its airport and was considering suspending the sale of alcohol in some venues, joining cities around the world in the battle to halt the coronavirus.
Announcing tough new travel restrictions, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said the government was planning to curb the sale of alcohol at more than 8,000 bars and restaurants, an extraordinary move in a city that never sleeps.
Lam announced four measures that the government will impose starting from Wednesday (March 25) at midnight and will last for 14 days:
All non-Hong Kong residents arriving in Hong Kong from other places by plane will not be allowed entry.
All non-Hong Kong residents who come from mainland China, Macau, Taiwan, who have been to overseas within the past 14 days upon arrival will be denied entry.
The Hong Kong International Airport will stop all transit services.
Imposing a liquor ban
Lam made an emotional plea to members of the public undergoing quarantine, asking them to stay indoors and not breach quarantine.
“These frontline staff members have been fighting the epidemic for over two months with perseverance. If those individuals who deliberately breach home quarantine in order just to play basketball or maybe have a bowl of noodles, this will lead to further community outbreak. How can you live with your conscience?” she said during the press conference while holding back tears.
“And for those who insist on breaching the home quarantine policy and going out to continue with their social activities, please give it a second thought. Can you be patient for some time and give Hong Kong time to win this battle?” the emotional premier appealed.
The city government announced 39 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, 30 of which had a recent travel history, bringing its total to 357. Four people have died of the disease in Hong Kong. (Production: Joyce Zhou)
Metro Manila has a possibility to transition to General Community Quarantine (GCQ) from Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) after May 31, according to the Malacañang.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said there is a chance that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions might ease in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.
The Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) held a meeting on Wednesday (May 27) to determine if the MECQ should continue after May 31.
“Chances are we will, in fact, be transitioning to GCQ in Metro Manila, according to the chief implementer and the DILG [Department of the Interior and Local Government] Secretary,” Roque said in a statement.
The Metro Manila Council (MMC) is also recommending to the IATF to put the National Capital Region under GCQ.
Once Metro Manila transitioned to GCQ, Roque said public transportation will resume operations but will have limited capacity.
He also appealed to the private and public sectors to finalize their work scheme where 50% will resume in worksites and 50% will work from home.
“We are appealing to both private and public sectors to ensure at least 50-50 workforce,” he said. –AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
MANILA, Philippines — The Mandaluyong City government cannot decide yet on whether or not to allow tricycle drivers to operate come June 1.
This, after 277 of the 3,115 tricycle drivers who underwent rapid testing were confirmed positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The Mandaluyong City Health Office is continuously conducting rapid tests among 7,000 tricycle drivers in the city to ensure their safety and the safety of their passengers.
Those who were infected are now under isolation in the city’s quarantine facility while waiting for the confirmatory tests using the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.
“Nagko contact tracing pa ho kami kasi scattered po ito eh. Hindi po ito kasi by area. So mina-map out pa po namin kung saan sila marami (We are doing contact tracing because these are scattered. It is not just in one area. So we are mapping out where the most number of cases are),” said Dr. Alexander Sta, Maria of the city health office.
The LGU, meanwhile, clarified that the increase in the number of confirmed cases in the city is a result of the mass testing which allowed for the immediate tracking of COVID-19 probable patients and their prompt isolation to curb further spread.
“This is coordinated kasi meron po tayong in-charge sa buong TODA. Then before po ito ni-launch, na-meeting po ang lahat ng presidente ng kanilang mga TODA so binigyan po sila ng schedule (This is a coordinated effort. There is someone in charge of the whole TODA. Before this was launched, we held a meeting with their respective presidents and all of them were given a schedule),” Sta. Maria added.
The city government will test jeepney drivers next once the tests among tricycle drivers is completed. MNP (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)
The House Defeat COVID-19 Committee has approved a bill seeking to provide a P1.5-trillion fund to create sustainable jobs amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
House Bill 6709 or the proposed “COVID-19 Unemployment Reduction Economic Stimulus (CURES) Act of 2020″ is set to fund infrastructure projects in rural areas to help curb unemployment amid the pandemic.
The CURES Act of 2020 shall also be undertaken with the “Balik Probinsya Bagong Pag-asa Program” and the immediate funding of CURES projects shall target the construction of health centers, school buildings, vocational learning centers, as well as improving fish ports and trading centers at barangay levels.
The House Bill is expected to be sponsored on Thursday (May 28) for its 2nd reading approval in the plenary on Thursday afternoon. It will have to go through a 3rd and final reading before it can hurdle the House.
Meanwhile, representatives of other government agencies such as the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) also endorsed the approval of the proposed CURES Act of 2020.–AAC
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