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Manila lockdown

based on news release 12 March 2020


Duterte calls for Manila lockdown to contain Coronavirus March 12 2020


MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Metro Manila, a region of over 12 million people, will be placed on lockdown for at least 30 days to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus in the Philippines.

This was announced by President Rodrigo Duterte in an evening address on Thursday, March 12, after declaring that the alert level for the coronavirus has been raised to its maximum level of Code Red Sublevel 2, marking the first massive lockdown in the country in recent history.

The lockdown covers 16 cities and one municipality of Metro Manila, as prescribed by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on the coronavirus outbreak, which is composed of key Duterte Cabinet officials.

“The recommendation of the Department of Health Technical Advisory Group on imposing Stringent Social Distancing Measures in the National Capital Region are adopted for a period of 30 days,” the IATF’s Resolution No. 11 reads.

It adds: “Land, domestic air, and domestic sea travel to and from Metro Manila shall be suspended after the expiration of 48 hours from issuance of this Resolution.”


Reason to Panic? We’re not!


We live here in Philippines. We’re not panicking. Manila Lockdown sounds scary, but in reality not really. It’s a bit annoying, yet probably necessary. Italy was complacent, and they don’t want the same thing to happen. 

Last week there were 3 cases in total in the Philippines. 1 died, and 2 got better. Now? 52. And 2 deaths in total.

  • For 30 days there will be no DOMESTIC travel in and outside of Manila
  • Schools will be closed. 
  • Government offices will be closed.
  • Travel within Manila will be restricted. How? Haven’t announced it yet. Although suspect it will be essential travel only from one municipality or possibly barangay to the next. Municipalities and barangays with more than a certain number of cases may be quarantined. 

NOTE: There remains international travel restrictions for areas of China. There is NO restriction to or from Australia!

As you saw from the last article, actual risk even if you catch it is very low. The issue is the ease of spreading it. It will blow over, as it’s doing in China. People will recover, and life will go on.


Life in Philippines right now?


No issues. No panicking. Plenty of dunny rolls in the stores, and no one punching anyone. Calm and orderly. Mila went shopping Wednesday (see photos with my daughter Erika). So don’t worry about your Filipina lady being in danger. All looks much the same to us!


No panic buying in Manila

Our Panic-Buying Trolley


Plenty of funny rolls left in Manila

Plenty of dunny rolls left on the shelf


Visas? What will it mean?


(Apologies for the incorrect information before)

No bans, restrictions or cancellations of visas to or from Australia! This is not an issue with the Australian Government or Department of Immigration (Home Affairs). This is Philippines Government only.

And there are no issues with traveling in or out of Australia to those who have visas.



All is calm and peaceful here. Your lady can travel on a visa to Australia. She may travel back again from Australia.

Just remember it’s only a month, and it’s not martial law! 


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Jeff Harvie is a Registered Migration Agent from Australia, but resident in Philippines since 2010 with his Filipina wife Mila and large extended family. Experienced with the Philippines culture, cross-cultural relationships and bureaucracy as well as Australian visas and Australian Migration Law, he writes with authority and fortunately with enough informality and humour that the average Aussie gets it!


New arrivals in Australia - Self-Isolation to prevent Coronavirus spread
Coronavirus and Australian Visas - March 2020 Visa News


  1. Russell

    I hear what you are saying but if one lives outside of Manila then how does one get into Manila to fly out

    • Jeff Harvie

      It’s not clear, Russell. I get the same news as everyone else. It sounds like travel in and out is OK as long as you have a good reason. Anyway, it should all unfold in the next few days.

      • Barry bolin

        My wife is waiting for our sons passport, which should take 3 weeks. She will fly from Tacloban to Manila for a flight to Melbourne. Do you foresee any problems or should this be okay? I know you can’t make we visions, but any advice would be great as we have been waiting so long.

        • Jeff Harvie

          At the moment no one can fly into Manila on domestic flights, Barry

  2. Donald Malcolm Tozer

    Is there any restrictions getting to Manila International Airport from outside Manila?
    Are intercity buses still able to run?
    Jovita has a booking to go to Australia on 5th April.

    • Jeff Harvie

      I don’t know, Donald. This was announced last night, and I’ve seen nothing more than what’s on the link.

  3. David

    Didn’t see any vegemite in that trolley Jeff!

    • Jeff Harvie

      Ughhh! Horrible stuff! And they don’t sell Promite here (which is much better)!

      • John

        An Aussie who does not like vegemite, and prefers Promite?? blasphemy

        • Jeff Harvie

          And I don’t like BV or Bundaberg Rum, and don’t watch Grand Finals. Must be something wrong with me. 😉

  4. Peter Ross Prenzler

    Hi Jeff

    What you have said is not quite what we are being told in Australia.
    We are told that all countries with local transmission of the virus their citizens are banned fron entry to the Philippines except for Philippine citizens living in Australia. That means my wife can travel home but not me or our son who is a Australian citizen. Also we are being told that even if my wife did travel home she would be subjected to a quarantine period.

    • Jeff Harvie

      I can only report the news as I hear it, Peter. I’ve heard nothing at all to say that anyone can’t travel in or out of the Philippines from Australia.

  5. Philip

    Hi Jeff ,

    My understanding is that Australian’s may not be able to fly into the Philippines,

    “There are also travel bans from any country that has reported cases of local transmission of COVID-19, except for Filipinos, their dependants and permanent residents.”

    This is from the Australian Governments Smart Traveler web site.

    I thought that Australia had had local transmissions?

    • Jeff Harvie

      That’s basically every country in the world. Again, I’ve heard of no reports of all incoming flights stopped. I think they’re referring to regions of China, Italy, Iran.

      If I hear anything to the contrary, I will of course report it.

  6. Annie

    Will my visa application be affected by this?

    • Jeff Harvie

      I’ve already answered you by email, Andie


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