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The Manila Times - Guidelines for courts during Covid emergency set

News & Interviews
13 March 2020

By Jomar Canlas | The Manila Times

The Supreme Court on Thursday set guidelines for courts following the increase in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases.

In an administrative circular dated March 12, Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta ordered that only persons with official business in the courts may be allowed to enter halls of justice and court rooms.

The order covers municipal and metropolitan trial courts, as well as regional trial courts.

Under the circular, “All court users and visitors, including but not limited to lawyers, parties and witnesses, shall fill up a declaration form.”

Those entering courtrooms will be subjected to a no-contact thermal scanning, “and those found to be suffering from fever, flu, colds and cough shall be prevented from entering.”

Prisoners attending hearings “must be immediately brought back to their respective detention facilities after their hearings,” the order read.

Unessential gatherings and meetings must also be reset.

Meanwhile, the court premises and common areas and fixtures were ordered sanitized.

Observance of good and proper hygiene is encouraged and those who are feeling sick for more than a day or two must seek medical attention.

“Those required to go on mandatory quarantine and those availing of voluntary quarantine shall be covered by the guidelines and procedure under the Civil Service rules,” the circular said.