President Rodrigo Duterte put the whole Philippine island of Luzon under an "enhanced community quarantine" until 12 April to avoid the spread of coronavirus, reports Al Jazeera.
In a televised public address on Monday, Duterte stated that public travel would be limited to purchasing only rice, medication and other vital things required for survival.
"Only establishments that provide services like food and medicine shall be open," said Duterte.
The president has ordered the departments of labour and social services to introduce legislation to alleviate the lockout pressure on small enterprise and wage-earners. He also encouraged companies to free their workers for the obligatory 13 month salary.
There are 142 confirmed COVID-19 incidents in the Philippines, and 12 deaths, according to the latest estimates from the health department.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo clarified earlier that under an improved neighborhood quarantine, "strict home quarantine shall be implemented in all households, transportation shall be suspended, provision of food and essential services shall be regulated and heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce quarantine procedures will be implemented".
This is essentially a lockout in the biggest and most populated island in the world which involves around 57 million residents.
"We already have an enhanced community quarantine which we started two days ago [over Manila], we are just expanding it to the entire Luzon," said Panelo.
The move is the most aggressive among Asian countries struggling to cope with the COVID-19 disease, which has already infected more than 164,000 people, killed at least 6,500, and crippled public health systems worldwide.