MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday expressed confidence that powerful countries such as Russia, United States, and Japan could eventually come up with a vaccine to prevent the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Speaking before local government officials in Pasay City, Duterte said countries “rich in technology” will soon be able to identify effective treatments and develop vaccines as Covid-19 cases continue to rise.
“With the great strides now of science, in a matter of days I’m sure that Russia, the brightest of their brightest and America and Japan they are working overtime to come up with a vaccine,” he said in a speech during the 2020 General Assembly of the Municipalities of the Philippines in Marriot Hotel.
He admitted it will take time but it is possible for the governments around the world to come up with a vaccine.
Currently, there is no vaccine for Covid-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus by observing precautionary measures such as avoiding close contact with people who are sick; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; and frequent hand-washing.
Those infected by coronavirus are given anti-viral drugs being used in clinical trials but there is no guarantee that these work.
He also believes patients who died from the highly-infectious disease were victims of predetermined course of events.
“Kung hindi ka na umabot (If you didn’t make it), that is really your destiny,” he said.
He said despite the “no-touch” policy being implemented by the Presidential Security Group (PSG) on him and his family, he is convinced that death was also predetermined.
Shaking hands with millions of people, he said, did not necessarily expose him to higher risk of contracting the disease because he believed that if it is a person’s time to die, it would happen anyway.
“Hindi mo naman madala yan sa handshake handshake. Maski magpunta ka ng limang milyon na handshake ‘yan pag hindi mo pa panahon hindi mo talaga panahon (You won’t get it from handshakes. Even if you make five million handshakes, if it’s not your time, it’s not your time),” Duterte said.
Before the meeting with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases in Malacañang on Monday night, Duterte was spotted shaking hands with Cabinet members present.
He described the “no-touch” protocol as foolish, saying he would still shake hands to greet people during public engagements.
He also insisted to keep attending public engagements including a scheduled trip to Boracay on March 12, even as the Department of Health (DOH) advised the public to limit outside activity and crowds.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said even if Duterte’s movements were limited by his security, “he doesn’t want to.”
Currently, there are 33 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country. The global death toll from the coronavirus is over 3,800 with more than 110,000 confirmed cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Duterte has issued a proclamation formally declaring a state of public health emergency throughout the Philippines.
He also ordered the suspension of all schools in all levels in the National Capital Region (NCR) from March 10 to 14 to ensure the safety of students from the disease. (PNA)