The number of COVID-19 cases knows no bound. The virus appears to be more contagious than Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003, also less lethal. The confirmed cases outside China have significantly increased now and the government around the world has been shutting down public and private doors to contain it from spreading further.
Majority of vast, glitzy gaming halls across the globe have slammed their doors and several countries are in lockdown mode. With the cases only increasing day after day, few of the regions have extended their quarantine and recently even Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte announced the sasme.
Until 30 April, all non-essential services, including casinos are set to remain close after Duterte extended Luzon’s enhanced community quarantine. Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the President accepted the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to extend the Luzon-wide quarantine until 11:59 pm of 30 April. Originally enforced for a duration of one month to 12 April 2020.
“Provided, that all exemptions granted by the Office of the President or the IATF shall continue to be in effect for the duration of the extended ECQ,” said Nograles, citing the resolution passed by the IATF on Monday.
Nograles said it had been agreed that 12 April was too early for medical experts to accurately assess whether the rate of infection had slowed, and to allow time to launch mass testing for COVID-19, due to begin from 14 April. He said, “The reason why we are asking for an extension up to April 30 is to measure the full effect of the ECQ and to increase the health capacity of Luzon and the whole country.”
Some senators said that food supply and movement of essential goods and services must be ensured and that there should be mass testing for the disease to allow early detection and treatment of cases.
When asked how this extension would impact Luzon’s gaming operations including PAGCOR properties and casino resorts in Manila’s Entertainment City and Clark Freeport Zone, PAGCOR said, it abides by the government’s decision “to keep only the essential establishments open during the extended enhanced community quarantine. Thus, the country-wide suspension of casino operations continues.”
It has also been reaching out to medical front-liners and communities by providing medical equipment, food packs. It recently distributed 47,000 food packs purcashed by Philippines Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) to communities in the National Capital Region and the Entertainment City licensees have donated over PHP 200 million to relief efforts. PAGCOR has also donated more than PHP 20 billion split between National Treasury and the Socio-Civic Projects Fun of the Office of President.
Luzon is home to over 57 million people and where Metro Manila, the country’s political and economic center, is located. The movement of people will continue to be severely restricted under the extended quarantine, with most only allowed to leave their homes for essential trips such as to buy food or medicine.
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