Duterte inclined to extend Luzon lockdown

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President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Monday evening said he is inclined to extend the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon until April 30.

“We have discussed it even before this. We are inclined to extend the lockdown up to April 30. Tingnan natin (We will see),” Mr. Duterte said in a televised address on Monday evening. 

Mr. Duterte did not give details on the extension of the ECQ, but repeatedly reminded Filipinos to stay at home to prevent the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from further spreading. 

The month-long ECQ is scheduled to end on April 12. However, in recent days, business groups and government officials have backed an extension of the lockdown, which has halted most economic activities in Luzon. 

Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez earlier on Monday said he supports a two-week extension of the ECQ.

ÒNeed to see the flattening of the curve, and more health and isolation facilities. Then followed by gradual lifting of other essential and job generating sectors,” he said in a mobile message sent to reporters. 

The Philippines is currently in a state of public health emergency and calamity due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

The Department of Health reported 11 new deaths and 414 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total deaths to 163 and cases to 3,660. At the same time, 73 patients have recovered from COVID-19.