Philippines to ‘prepare for the worst’ with new COVID variants: Duterte

Philippines to ‘prepare for the worst’ with new COVID variants: Duterte

MANILA – The government might be forced to go full blast on the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), in case the country faces a worst-case scenario, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday.

Duterte raised the possibility as he lamented that the Covid-19 is becoming “dangerous” because of the discovery of more “serious” variants.

“If at all, and with the advent of new variants, it is good to prepare for a more serious attack,” Duterte said in his taped public address delivered Monday night but televised on Tuesday morning. “Kung medyo palapit nang palapit na at marami nang tinatamaan (If it is getting near and many are getting infected), then we will go full blast in making everything operational.”

The Philippines on Monday recorded a total of 1,149,925 Covid-19 infections of which 54,235 are active cases, 1,076,428 recoveries, and 19,262 fatalities.

Prepare for worst

Duterte acknowledged that it would take a long time to address the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hence, he told the public to “prepare for the worst,” if a more contagious Covid-19 variant spreads in the country.

“For as long as the Covid-19 is here, it will take a lot of time before it finally disappear[s],” Duterte said. “And if it is more — a serious mutant, the variant, we will just have to prepare for the worst.”

Recalibrating preparedness

Despite this, Duterte ensured that his administration is exhausting all efforts to defeat Covid-19.

“We continue to prepare and we calibrate our preparedness in accordance with each propagation,” he said.

Duterte also reiterated his plan to sell government properties, once funds for Covid-19 pandemic response efforts are already depleted.

He likewise ordered the ramping up of health infrastructure projects to boost the country’s fight against Covid-19.

“I would be happy if you continue to build the infrastructure of our Covid system, Covid-19 fight system,” Duterte said.

The Philippines has so far detected 12 cases of B.1.617 SARS-CoV-2 variant that first appeared in India.

Apart from the Indian Covid-19 variant, the country has also reported B.1.1.7 (United Kingdom), B.1.351 (South Africa), and P.3 (Philippines) variant cases. (PNA)

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos, May 18, 2021