MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte’s future foreign travels have been suspended in a bid to protect him from being infected with the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19), the Presidential Security Group (PSG) announced on Thursday.
The suspension of Duterte’s future trips overseas came following the recommendation of the Department of Health (DOH), the PSG said.
“For now, all PRRD’s (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) foreign travels, especially to those countries with confirmed cases of Covid-19, have been suspended as recommended by DOH,” the PSG said in a Facebook post.
Covid-19, which was first detected in Wuhan, China in December 2019, now affects more than 100 countries.
The number of worldwide cases of Covid-19 has already climbed to over 120,000 and deaths have exceeded 4,300.
In the Philippines, around 49 people have so far been infected with Covid-19.
Prior to the PSG’s announcement, Duterte revealed that he intends to visit Kuwait, one of the countries with confirmed Covid-19 cases, to personally ask the Kuwaiti government to impose the maximum penalty on the killers of Filipino domestic worker Jeanalyn Villavende.
Senator Christopher Lawrence Go, Duterte’s former long-time aide, earlier said Duterte would fly to Kuwait by either March or April this year.
Duterte’s scheduled trip to Boracay on Thursday was also moved to another date amid concerns over the outbreak of Covid-19 in the country.
Duterte and Go also underwent tests for Covid-19 at Bahay Pagbabago in Malacañan at around 5 p.m. on Thursday.
The tests, which were conducted by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, came after Duterte and Go met with some Cabinet members who have direct exposure to a Covid-19 patient.
In a text message, Go said the test results would be released after two days.
Duterte on Sunday declared public health emergency as the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 continues to rise.
The Department of Health has encouraged the public to practice proper hygiene and social distancing to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the country. (PNA)