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Duterte suspends classes in Metro Manila Until March 14

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the suspension of classes at all levels, both public and private, in Metro Manila until March 14, 2020 as the number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) continued to rise. 

The Department of Health, however, said it is not recommending a lockdown yet as there is still no sustained community transmission. 

"If we reach Code Red, Sub-Level 2, that will trigger a lockdown," Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergerie said.

Classes in the following areas have also been suspended following the declaration of a state of public health emergency:

Cainta, Rizal—all levels until March 10; Montalban, Rizal—all levels until March 10; San Mateo, Rizal—all levels until March 10

Two schools—Assumption College and St. Theresa’s College—have also suspended classes at all levels until March 10 and March 14, respectively.

Cainta Mayor Kit Nieto on Monday said he might extend the suspension of classes in his town if authorities fail to stock up on materials to keep students safe from COVID-19. These include N-95 and surgical masks, rubbing alcohol and disinfectant, which will be distributed to students when they return to school.

Navotas Mayor Toby Tiangco, meanwhile, said his decision to cancel classes on Monday was not due to any COVID-19 case in the city.

“This decision is not because there is a COVID-19 case in Navotas. There is no COVID-19 case in Navotas,” Tiangco told radio dzMM in Filipino.

Meanwhile, the Department of Education has suspended all national and regional activities which require travel and congregation of schools, division, and regions amid the continuing COVID-19 threat.

READ: DepEd cancels Palaro 2020

The DepEd said only the ongoing National Schools Press Conference and the National Festival of Talents will proceed.

The regional athletic meets are also suspended until further notice.

The department required organizers of national and regional activities to report the suspended activities to the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service.

“All division and district activities that involve the gathering or congregation of various schools in cities and municipalities where there have been Department of Health (DOH)-confirmed local cases of

COVID-19—Taguig City and San Juan City, National Capital Region—are suspended,” the DepEd said.

Activities that involve gathering of learners within the school may proceed provided that all personnel and learners exhibiting respiratory infections must not attend and applicable health guidelines are strictly observed.

“Personnel and learners exhibiting respiratory infections shall be referred to appropriate health personnel for proper evaluation or referral to a hospital if needed,” the DepEd added.

The Commission on Elections has suspended voter registration in light of the increasing number of COVID-19 cases.

The voter registration period started on Jan. 20 and was originally scheduled to run until Sept. 30, 2021.

Also on Monday, Davao Oriental Rep. Mayo Almario urged employers and employees to avail of telecommuting to help suppress the spread of COVID-19.

The Telecommuting Act declares telecommuting as an alternative work arrangement to curb traffic, maximize work and family life balance, and minimize downtime, among others.

“In addition to the law’s intent, it becomes even more important now more than ever because of emergency health situations the country is currently facing,” Almario said.

“Those who are qualified to work at home… should be given the chance to avail of the said arrangement,” he said.

He reminded employers who would be telecommuting to the Fair Treatment policy as stated in Section 5 of the law—“the employer shall ensure that the telecommuting employees are given the same treatment as that of comparable employees working at the employer’s premises.” 

READ: Duterte readies anti-virus EO

READ: Duterte plans school shutdown

Topics: new coronavirus , class suspension , #WalangPasok , public health emergency , Rodrigo Duterte
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