A SENATOR has filed a bill allowing the Bureau of Quarantine to impose lockdowns in selected areas amid the threat of a novel coronavirus outbreak.

Senator Francis N. Tolentino filed Senate Bill 1408 or the proposed Health Emergency Lockdown Act, which will amend the Quarantine Act of 2004 by expanding the bureau’s powers.

The measure also allows the bureau, in coordination with the Interior and Local Government department to suspend classes, name dedicated hospitals and encourage telecommuting programs.

Some lawmakers have sought a lockdown in Metro Manila to contain the contagion, but Mr. Tolentino said it should only be implemented when the situation worsens.

“We haven’t reached that level of contamination yet to warrant the lockdown of the entire Metro Manila which I believe will be detrimental to the economy,” he told a news briefing on Wednesday. — Charmaine A. Tadalan