MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte prefers to stay at Malacañan Palace in Manila during the month-long community quarantine of the entire Metro Manila to oversee his administration’s efforts to fight the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19), Malacañang said on Friday.
Duterte rejected the request of his common-law wife, Honeylet Avanceña, for him to fly back to his home in Davao City, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo told ANC.
Panelo said Duterte shared his conversation with Avanceña during his meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) at Malacañan Palace on Thursday night.
Duterte, as quoted by Panelo, said: “No, (I won’t return to Davao City). The face of the country is Manila and the President had to be here so I’ll be here.”
Duterte on Thursday night announced the implementation of a community quarantine in the entire Metro Manila after the Covid-19 alert system was raised to Code Red (Sub-level 2).
Members of IATF-EID are expected to give fresh recommendations to Duterte after their meeting on Friday afternoon.
Panelo said Duterte opts to hold a daily meeting with IATF-EID to assess the Covid-19 outbreak in the country.
“The President had to undertake stringent measures because he’s expecting a spike. He wants to see how effective these measures would be,” he said. “All we have to do is really observe protocols, personal hygiene. Keep washing your hands. Distance yourself from the person near you. That’s a very simple task to do.”
The World Health Organization has declared a global pandemic after Covid-19, which originated in Wuhan, China, now affects more than 100 countries.
Covid-19 has so far killed 4,900 people and infected 130,000 others worldwide.
The Philippines has recorded 52 positive cases of Covid-19. Five infected people have died, while two others have recovered.
On Thursday, Duterte was tested for Covid-19 after some of his Cabinet men went on self-quarantine due to their close contact with a person who tested positive for the infectious disease.
Panelo ensured that Duterte is “okay” after his test for the coronavirus.
The test results will be made public after 48 hours or on Saturday (March 14), Panelo added. (PNA)