In a bid to control the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), President Rodrigo Duterte implemented the “Enhanced Community Quarantine” over the entire island of Luzon starting midnight of March 17, 2020.

As a result of the intensified quarantine, people are ordered to simply stay at home/indoors. Work in a good portion of both the private and government sector has also been suspended (except for the essentials). Furthermore, operations of mass transport are also suspended as well. All modes of public transport were ordered suspended such as rail transport (LRT, MRT, and PNR), buses, jeeps, UV express, tricycles, and even Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS).

Enhanced quarantine: Public transport in Luzon comes to a standstill image

The imposition of the enhanced quarantine was done after observing thousands of commuters that faced long lines and crowded public utility vehicles (PUVs) during the Monday morning rush hour, defeating the purpose of the prescribed “social distancing” by the Department of Health (DOH). The alarming turnout prompted authorities to essentially impose a "lockdown" to prevent the risk of the COVID-19 pandemic from spreading beyond control.

Aside from the ban on public transportation, land, sea and air travel are also restricted. According to the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) latest guidelines, foreigners may depart from the Philippines within 72 hours upon effectivity of the “Enhanced Community Quarantine”. As such airport operations will be limited to outbound flights for foreigners and citizens with permanent residency abroad.

Gov’t bans all public transport as part of intensified quarantine image

The public is only allowed to go outside to buy basic necessities. However, only one person in the household is allowed to do so. Furthermore, the DOTr mandates that private vehicles can only be used for this purpose as public transport has been suspended. Media vehicles and reporters are allowed to travel within the community quarantine area provided that they secure a special media pass. Movement of cargo within, to and from Luzon shall also continue.

With the widespread suspension of work in the private sector and the suspension of mass transport, there really should be no reason for the public to leave their homes.

Enhanced quarantine: Public transport in Luzon comes to a standstill image

However, from the looks of things this morning, there were still a few PUVs plying the roads bringing workers to and from their destinations. But with limited PUVs operating, along with more stringent checkpoints, essential health workers and employees are facing delays before getting to their place of work.

Currently, there are already 142 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 12 deaths. There is also good news, however, as the first-ever Filipino case in the country has recovered from COVID-19. That brings the total amount of patients cured in the country to three (the first two being Chinese nationals).