THE House of Representatives will remain under lockdown next week amid the surge in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) and nearby provinces, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco announced on Friday.
“We have decided to extend the lockdown by another week from January 10 to 16 as a precautionary measure to protect the health and safety of House members and employees in view of an alarming rise in COVID-19 cases in NCR and adjacent provinces,” Velasco said.
The House has been placed on lockdown since last Tuesday amid the threat of the Omicron coronavirus variant that health authorities suspect is behind the current spike in infections.
Velasco said regular work in the House will resume on January 17, when the legislature is also scheduled to convene for its first plenary session since the holiday break.
However, Velasco said only 20 percent of the workforce in each office in the House will be allowed to report for work starting January 17.
Velasco said he has already instructed House Secretary General Mark Llandro Mendoza to ensure the strict implementation of the lockdown.
The House chief advised lawmakers and employees to stay at home, as he assured them of continued access to virtual committee meetings, public hearings and other events in the House during the lockdown period.
Velasco also reiterated his appeal to the public to remain vigilant and continue all public health precautions against COVID-19.