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Philippines Becomes First Nation to Close its Financial Markets Due to Coronavirus Pandemic

A man wearing a protective mask looks for the start of the queue at a grocery store in Taguig, metropolitan Manila, Philippines, March 13, 2020.

The Philippines Stock Exchange has shut down operations indefinitely, the first stock exchange in the world to stop trading amid the economic fallout caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The decision to close down the exchange comes as the capital, Manila, has been placed under a virtual lockdown, as well as the daily losses sustained in the global financial markets as everyday life grinds to a halt in practically every country and major city in an effort to halt the spread of the virus.

President Rodrigo Duterte announced last week a new set of travel restrictions after health authorities raised the highest alert level for COVID-19, and the region was placed under community quarantine. Over 12 million people living in metropolitan Manila will not be allowed in and out of the city by land or local air and sea travel until April 14.

The head of the exchange says he plans to reopen the markets on Thursday.