MANILA – Malacañang on Friday allayed public fears over the two new cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the Philippines, as it assured that protective measures remain in place to avert the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
“There is no need for alarm or worry because we’re ready. From the very start, we’ve already said that. We’re making advance preparation in addition to the present measures that we have already undertaken,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo told reporters.
Panelo’s statement came on the same day Health Secretary Francisco Duque III confirmed that two Filipinos have tested positive for Covid-19.
The two new cases were a 48-year-old male Filipino with a travel history from Japan and a 62-year-old male with no travel history abroad.
The 48-year-old patient is in stable condition, while the 62-year-old is suffering from severe pneumonia.
At the early stages of the outbreak in China, the Philippines has recorded Covid-19 cases involving three Chinese nationals from Wuhan, China where the deadly virus originated.
Two of the Chinese nationals recovered while the other one died.
Ready for ‘worst-case’ scenario
Panelo assured the public that the government is prepared for the “worst-case” scenario.
He said the government, through the Department of Health (DOH) which is primarily tasked to handle the Covid-19 cases, would continue to be “transparent”.
“The DOH is ready. It said that all protocols have been established and all they have to do is implement them. Definitely, (the DOH is) honest. Si Secretary Duque pa (There’s no doubt about it because its head is Secretary Duque),” Panelo said.
The DOH has asked Congress to approve around PHP2-billion supplemental fund to augment the government’s response against Covid-19.
President Rodrigo Duterte has already given his consent for the proposed supplemental budget but it still needs Congress’ nod.
Panelo expressed confidence that lawmakers would approve the DOH request.
“Definitely, (Congress will approve it) because there’s an emergency situation relative to this Covid-19,” he said.
No change in PRRD’s work schedule
Meantime, Panelo said Duterte’s daily work schedule would remain the same, even with the two new confirmed cases of Covid-19.
Panelo said Duterte, being a “workaholic” president, would continue fulfilling his job, despite the threats of the deadly coronavirus.
“Knowing the President who doesn’t care less, who couldn’t care less about his own safety from whether virus or any other harm, he will proceed with the schedule. Unless there are other events that will change his movements,” he said.
Panelo, however, raised the possibility that the Presidential Security Group might limit Duterte’s interactions with the public. (ia/PNA)