People wearing protective masks, following an outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), rush to get in a bus in Manila, Philippines, March 12, 2020 Reuters
Manila, AFP: Police began closing off access to the Philippines’ sprawling and densely populated capital Manila on Sunday, imposing a quarantine that officials hope will curb the nation’s rising number of coronavirus cases.
Officers in military fatigues and armed with rifles blocked off main roads into the city of some 12 million as domestic flights to and from Manila were halted early Sunday for a month-long isolation of the capital.
Mass gatherings and school at all levels have also been called off, but delays and exceptions have led public health experts to question how effective President Rodrigo Duterte’s measures will be.
Striking steps were also being taken elsewhere in the county, with one church in the central Philippines deciding to hold its Sunday service with worshippers separated by yellow barricade tape.
The tape crisscrossed the pews so that no two worshippers could sit next to each other.
Though the Philippines has detected a fraction of the infections seen in hot spots such as China and Italy, its confirmed cases nearly doubled in recent days to 111, with eight deaths.