Malacañang on Wednesday said garbage collection will continue while residents stay under enhanced community quarantine to minimize the risk of catching or spreading the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In a televised Laging Handa public briefing, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles assured that waste will continue to be collected from homes since majority of the population is expected to strictly remain indoors.
Besides garbage collection, other critical services such as funeral and internment services and gasoline stations will also remain operational.
Local government units (LGUs) are in-charge of collecting garbage in their respective communities.
According to experts, the Philippines generates about 35,000 tons of garbage daily, more than 8,600 tons per day in Metro Manila alone.
The government initially announced that only establishments involved in production of basic necessities such as food, pharmacies, and banks or remittance centers will remain open.
Basic utilities such as water, electricity, internet, and telecommunications will also carry on with work.
Those exempted from the quarantine are uniformed personnel, health workers, emergency and other mission-critical services, and media personnel with accreditation from the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).
To lower the chances of being infected with COVID-19, the public is advised to practice basic protective measures such as frequent handwashing; social distancing of at least one meter; proper coughing and sneezing etiquette; and seeking immediate help once symptoms show.
The island of Luzon is currently under an enhanced community quarantine which means that “strict home quarantine shall be implemented in all households; public transportation shall be suspended; provision for food and essential health services shall be regulated; and heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce quarantine procedures will be implemented.”
President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the country under a state of public health emergency and a state of calamity due to COVID-19.
As of Wednesday, the Department of Health (DOH) said there are a total of 193 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country with 14 deaths and 7 recoveries.
More than 150 countries have been infected with COVID-19 which originated in Wuhan, China in December 2019.
Signs and symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome and sometimes death.