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Opinion

Philippines ignored neighbors' lessons on how to tackle coronavirus

Manila lockdown comes far too late after Duterte tried to placate China

| Philippines
Rodrigo Duterte speaks during an Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Malacanang presidential palace on Mar. 16: the Philippine president has been trying to please China.   © Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division/AP

The Philippine government has taken drastic action. In response to the threat of a coronavirus epidemic outbreak, it has placed the country's capital under a de facto lockdown or, as President Rodrigo Duterte euphemistically said, "enhanced community quarantine."

Metro Manila, home to more than 12 million and the most densely populated urban center on earth, will face unprecedented restrictions on movement of its residents from now at least until April 12. The Philippines is the first country in the region to have placed its administrative and commercial capital under collective quarantine.

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