MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte is seriously taking into consideration the World Health Organization’s (WHO) warning that the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) will wreak havoc further unless stronger action is taken to address the health crisis, Malacañang said on Wednesday.
In a press statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte is looking for “best” ways to address the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
“We take seriously the remarks of World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus that the ‘worst of the coronavirus 2019 has yet to come,’” he said.
In a media briefing on Monday, Tedros warned that the worst is “yet ahead of us” sans national unity and global solidarity amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The novel coronavirus has infected over 2.3 million people globally and killed over 169,000 individuals, based on the April 21 situation report released by WHO.
Tedros appealed to countries with Covid-19 infections to work together to prevent the worst of the pandemic.
He made the call as he acknowledged that Covid-19 is a virus that “many people still don’t understand.”
“Ending this epidemic will require a sustained effort on the part of individuals, communities, and governments to continue suppressing and controlling this deadly outbreak,” Tedros said.
Roque said Duterte had already consulted medical experts before making a decision on how to improve the country’s fight against Covid-19.
“We further agree with the WHO chief’s assertion that ‘it’s a virus that many people still don’t understand.’ It is for this reason that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has been in consultation with different experts across different sectors on how to best address the Covid-19 situation in the country,” he said.
Duterte met with health experts from the medical field on Monday and had a five-hour discussion with them about the Covid-19 crisis in the country.
He also had a meeting with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to discuss the post-April 30 scenarios in the entire Luzon where an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) was imposed.
Roque said Duterte had even sought the advice of former Health secretaries of previous administrations to ensure that the President would make the right decision.
“He even set aside politics and met Health Secretaries of previous administrations as he weighs the different options for our people. The decision will be carefully studied as lives of the people and the nation are at stake,” he said.
Duterte has placed the whole island of Luzon under ECQ until April 30 to stop the further transmission of Covid-19 in the country.
Roque on Tuesday said Duterte has until April 30 to decide on the fate of Luzon-wide ECQ.
Apart from Luzon, other areas in Visayas and Mindanao that have confirmed Covid-19 cases have also been placed under ECQ.
To date, the Philippines has 6,710 confirmed Covid-19 infections.