Rizal province begins lockdown amid COVID-19 threat

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 6)— Rizal province was put under total lockdown Monday in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The province formally shut its borders at 8 a.m., pursuant to the earlier directive of Acting Rizal Governor Reynaldo San Juan.

San Juan over the weekend ordered a total lockdown of the entire province, which includes entry and exit restrictions at its borders, amid the rising cases of the infectious disease in the area.

As of Friday, Rizal has recorded at least 106 COVID-19 positive cases, including 18 fatalities.

Exempted from the new restriction are essential employees including those working in supermarkets, markets, hospitals, food preparation and delivery, transport delivery service, agricultural supply, as well as in other business establishments allowed by the national government to operate.

Authorized government officials, health workers, media personnel, evacuated overseas workers, and religious ministers will also be allowed entry but will be subjected mandatory thermal scanning or temperature check.

Mass transportation were banned, except for vehicles provided by local government units for health workers, frontliners and critical services workers. Social distancing measures shall also be observed in the said transport vehicles.

Checkpoints were established in the province's borders, in accordance with the guidelines of the Joint Task Force Corona Virus Shield.

The lockdown will be imposed indefinitely, as San Juan did not specify how long the directive will last.

Meanwhile, some motorists to and from Metro Manila were seen passing through the province's borders hours— and even minutes— before the lockdown started.

While Rizal and other provinces have imposed respective local lockdowns, the entire Luzon was also placed under an enhanced community quarantine, in an effort to fight the spread of the contagious disease. As of Sunday, the Philippines has recorded 3,246 COVID-19 cases, including 152 deaths and 64 recoveries.