Manila Quarantine Order Extended Through July, Casinos Remain Shuttered

Posted on: July 16, 2020, 09:13h. 

Last updated on: July 16, 2020, 10:27h.

Despite plans to lift the quarantine, Manila will remain under a general community quarantine through at least the end of the month. That means the four commercial integrated resorts in the Philippines’ capital will stay closed.

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Dozens of men have been arrested in Manila for violating quarantine orders. (Image: Aaron Favila/AP)

Metro Manila, the hardest-hit area in the Philippines by COVID-19, was set to end its community quarantine yesterday, July 15. But as coronavirus cases continue to surge, President Rodrigo Duterte extended the lockdown.

The definition of “community quarantine” has been controversial. Duterte has said certain government officials “are afraid to call it a lockdown, but it is a lockdown.” But his Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said community quarantine is the correct medical term and one that “does not create public fear.”

What a community quarantine certainly does require is that all nonessential businesses remain closed. Resorts World Manila, along with the three casinos in Manila’s Entertainment City — Solaire, City of Dreams, and Okada — will keep their doors shut until August 1 at the earliest.

Cases Surge

Since Duterte lifted his stay-at-home order for the entire country effective June 1, the number of coronavirus cases in the Philippines has more than tripled. The Southeast Asian nation has reported 61,266 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1,643 deaths.

The Philippines’ Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases is said to have wanted to impose a stricter lockdown order on Manila, instead of simply extending the community quarantine directive. But Duterte decided otherwise, despite the World Health Organization (WHO) also voicing concerns regarding the country’s alarming rise in cases.

Several hospitals in the Manila capital are reportedly at capacity.

Interior Minister Eduardo Ano said this week that police will conduct house-to-house searches for COVID-19 patients. The government is requiring that individuals who test positive to come to a government-operated COVID-19 isolation facility.

“We don’t want positive patients to stay home in quarantine, especially if their homes don’t have the capacity,” Ano said a news conference. “What we will do is to go house-to-house and we will bring the positive cases to our COVID-19 isolation facilities.”

Gaming Crashes

Manila casinos have been closed since March 16 and the odds don’t appear favorable that they’ll be unlocking their doors anytime soon.

All four commercial casino resorts say they’re ready to welcome back guests once given the go-ahead. The properties have been implementing numerous health safety measures during their shutdowns. Melco Resorts, owner and operator of City of Dreams, says it will offer free COVID-19 tests for all workers and patrons.

Duterte has been criticized by outsiders for not handling the pandemic properly. In late May, as the Philippines had around 16,000 cases, almost 1,000 deaths, and the country’s single highest one-day tally of new infections at 539, the president said, “For me, this does not look bad.”

His health minister, Franciso Duque, agreed at the time, saying 90 percent of the nation’s coronavirus cases are “mild.”