MANILA, March 9 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared on Monday a state public health emergency after the Department of Health confirmed the local COVID-19 transmission in the country.
In the meantime, the Presidential Security Group (PSG) said that it will implement a "no-touch" policy on President Duterte to ensure his safety amid the COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines.
There are now 10 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, including one death. Already, the DOH confirmed the local transmission of the deadly virus in the Philippines.
On Saturday, the DOH raised the COVID-19 alert system to code red sublevel 1 and recommended that Duterte declare a state of public health emergency.
According to the declaration that Duterte signed on Monday, it "would capacitate government agencies and local government units to immediately act to prevent loss of life, utilize appropriate resources to implement urgent and critical measures to contain or prevent the spread of COVID-19, mitigate its effects and impact to the community, and prevent serious disruption of the functioning of the government and the community."
Indeed, declaring a state of public health emergency will facilitate mobilization of resources, ease processes, including procurement of critical logistics and supplies, and intensifying reporting.
In declaring a state of public health emergency throughout the Philippines, Duterte ordered all government agencies and local government units "to render full assistance and cooperation to necessary resources to undertake critical, urgent, and appropriate response and measures to curtail and eliminate the COVID-19 threat."
Duterte said Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque "may call upon the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies to provide assistance in addressing the COVID-19 threat."
"All citizens, residents, tourists and establishment owners are urged to act within the bounds of the law and to comply with the lawful directives and advisories to be issued by appropriate agencies to prevent further transmission of the COVID-19 and ensure the safety and well-being of all," the proclamation said.
Duterte said the COVID-19 outbreak "constitutes an emergency that threatens national security," adding it requires "a whole-of-governnent response".
In another developent, the Presidential Security Group (PSG) said on Monday that it will implement a "no-touch" policy on President Duterte to ensure his safety amid the COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines.
"PSG will strictly implement preventive measures against the virus to ensure the safety of (the 74-year-old president) and the first family," PSG Commander Colonel Jesus Durante said in a statement sent to reporters.
Durante said people expected to get near Duterte especially during meetings and events will be thoroughly screened and tested for any illness related to COVID-19, including PSG personnel, politicians, and dignitaries.
"Large crowd gatherings with (Duterte) as guest of honor and speaker shall be assessed and could be cancelled not only for his safety but also for the attendees," Durante added.
Moreover, he said "all established health protocols and preventive measures are continuously in effect to all PSG personnel and the whole Malacanang presidential palace complex.
Durante said the PSG imposed the policy after the Department of Health raised on Saturday the COVID-19 alert system to code red sublevel 1 after more cases were detected.