MANILA – Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Friday clarified that the term ‘community quarantine” is the more appropriate term to describe the government’s latest move to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
This as panic struck Metro Manila residents as several media firms labeled the recent government pronouncement as a ‘lockdown’.
“It’s not lockdown, we are under community quarantine. Iba ang connotation, ang daming interpretation pag sinabing ‘lockdown’ wala nang cargo, food supply kaya nagpapanic ang mga tao (There’s a different connotation with the word ‘lockdown’ and there’s a lot that can be interpreted from it. When you say it, it means, there’s no more cargo and food supply in the Metro that’s why people are panicking). Deliberately, we do not use it,” Nograles said in a live-streamed press forum in Malacañang.
Nograles insisted that the measure implemented by the authorities shall be called a “community quarantine” which is a technical term that can be defined by medical experts does not cause unnecessary alarm to the public.
The term ‘lockdown’ generally means a state of isolation or restricted access instituted as a security measure, which was implemented in Wuhan, China and Italy, where a sudden spike in the number Covid-19 cases and deaths was recorded.
Meanwhile, ‘community quarantine’ refers to restricting movements in an area that might have been exposed to infection without necessarily saying that the residents there are sick.
On Thursday night, President Rodrigo Duterte announced to the public his decision to put Metro Manila in community quarantine but his words were received with confusion by many.
“We don’t want to use that term, because you are afraid to call it a lockdown. But it’s a lockdown,” the president said in a televised broadcast.
Nograles stood to clarify that the President only made a comment about the word lockdown being used by the media but he actually meant that the measure “is like a lockdown”.
He likewise urged the media to be careful in its information dissemination as “there can be changes with the guidelines any day”.
Starting March 15 to April 14, land, domestic air and domestic sea travel to and from Metro Manila will be suspended subject to daily review of the government.
Duterte has authorized the community quarantine of Metro Manila as a precaution against the spread of Covid-19, as well as social distancing measures for the next 30 days to combat the spread of the deadly virus.
This came after authorities raised Code Red Sub-level 2 as the number of Covid-19 cases in the country rose to 52 with five deaths as of Thursday. Christine Cudis /PNA – northboundasia.com