MANILA — Once a vaccine designed to protect against the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is developed, it will be shared with the rest of the world, President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday night.
Duterte recognized the seriousness of the health problem but noted that the Philippines could only rely on medical scientists and experts from powerful countries and “God’s blessing” to prevent people from getting sick.
“We are awaiting for God’s blessing na magkaroon tayo ng (to have a) vaccine either from sino diyan na (whoever) bright boy: China, Russia, America. I’m sure na kung meron na sila (that when they have it), they will share it with the rest of the world,” he said.
He said that the pandemic “is getting worse”, and sought for cooperation in maintaining peace and order amid reports that some 20 protesters demanding food assistance were arrested in Quezon City for staging a rally amid the month-long enhanced community quarantine in the entire Luzon.
“Mayroon tayong ginawang mga hakbang na (We are taking steps) to sustain us but only if there is the order in the society,” he said.
Last March 10, he made a similar pronouncement about a vaccine, saying countries “rich in technology” such as Japan, Russia, and the US will soon be able to develop a Covid-19 vaccine.
“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 Marriott 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 but the best way to prevent getting infected is 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.
The World Health Organization’s (WHO) health emergency program executive director Dr. Mike Ryan said it could take at least a year to develop a vaccine to protect against Covid-19.
Though a vaccine has yet to be developed, he said countries could start implementing strong measures such as widespread testing.
Ryan also cited countries China, Singapore, and South Korea as “models” of how the government can contain the virus.
Recent data showed that the coronavirus has infected over 900,000 people across 178 countries and has killed at least 44,000.
In the Philippines, health authorities announced a total of 2,311 confirmed Covid-19 cases, 96 fatalities, and 50 recoveries as of April 1.
On March 24, Duterte signed the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act” or Republic Act No. 11469 declaring a state of national emergency over the entire country and giving him special powers to address the Covid-19 pandemic.
RA 11469 allows Duterte to realign the national budget and tap additional funds to address the national emergency.
The law also allows him to immediately procure medical supplies such as personal protective equipment (PPE), lab and medical equipment, and testing kits.
He also placed the entire Luzon under an enhanced community quarantine which strictly requires residents to stay indoors and limit movement to accessing basic necessities and heightens the presence of uniformed personnel. (PNA)