Duterte plans school shutdown

May follow Japan lead if outbreak worsens in PH; 10 repatriates show symptoms

President Rodrigo Duterte might consider replicating the move of Japan to ask schools to close for a month to control COVID-19 after the World Health Organization (WHO) raised the risk assessment to “very high,” the Palace said Sunday.

Duterte plans school shutdown
President Rodrigo Duterte
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said it could be done if the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease would recommend it, but said there is no need for such drastic action now.

“If the President can see the threat increasing and there is a recommendation from the inter-agency, it may also be done. At present, there’s none,” Panelo said in a radio interview.

READ: Victim's profile comes to fore after 3k deaths

The Palace official also assured the public that the government has been prepared to step up efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.

The WHO has commended the Philippines and eight other countries for showing that the spread of the deadly disease “can be contained.” The other countries cited by the global organization were Belgium,

Cambodia, Finland, India, Nepal, the Russian Federation, Sri Lanka, and Sweden.

READ: Virus prompts who to raise risk level

“Even the World Health Organization has commended the Philippines. We are containing the virus very well. That’s why our fellow Filipinos should not worry,” Panelo said.

The Philippines has temporarily banned the entry of tourists from China, Hong Kong, Macau, and North Gyeongsang province in South Korea in a bid to prevent the disease from spreading.

Duterte plans school shutdown
SCHOOL'S OUT. Medical staff members wearing protective gear move inside the yellow control lines at a hospital for patients infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus in Daegu on March 1, 2020. South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on March 1 the government was waging "all-out responses" to contain the novel coronavirus as the country reported 376 new cases, taking the total to 3,526. AFP
Filipinos are also banned from traveling in those countries except if they are permanent residents, students, and workers there.

Three cases of COVID-19 involving three Chinese nationals were confirmed in the Philippines. One of the patients died, while the remaining two recovered from the disease.

Currently, there is no case of local transmission of the virus in the country.

As of Feb. 29, there were over 85,000 cases of Covid-19 worldwide and over 2,900 deaths.

On Sunday, Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said 10 of the repatriates from the Diamond Princes cruise ship showed symptoms of COVID-19, but seven of them had tested negative for the virus.

The remaining three were still awaiting their test results, she added.

The 445 repatriates from the cruise ship began their 14-day quarantine at the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac on Tuesday.

The number of Filipinos abroad who have tested positive for COVID-19 rose to 86 after a 41-year-old Filipino woman in Singapore was confirmed to have the virus.

Duterte plans school shutdown
SCHOOL'S OUT. Elementary school children disinfect their hands before leaving school in Osaka. Japan's prime minister on February 28 defended his call for schools across the country to close over the new coronavirus, as the country confirmed a fifth death linked to the outbreak. AFP
Sixteen out of the 80 Filipinos who tested positive for COVID-19 aboard the Diamond Princess had already been discharged, she said.

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Topics: Rodrigo Duterte , COVID-19 , World Health Organization , Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease
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