MANILA – China may be among the first countries to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), President Rodrigo Duterte said late Thursday night.
Duterte bared that China was coming up with a potential Covid-19 vaccine that could be available by September. The virus originated from Wuhan in China.
“Just pray that the vaccine — ang target nila (their target) is September. September I think China will be able to distribute if I’m not mistaken. And the other countries are catching up. Every — everybody is at it so they are really trying their very best,” Duterte said in a public address late Thursday night.
He lauded China’s humility, reiterating his confidence that the East Asian nation would succeed in its endeavor to provide immunity against the deadly disease.
“Kaya lang itong China hindi ito hambog. Wala itong ere (China is not boastful. They’re not conceited). But they — they, you know, they work and I’m very sure that they will be the first one — one of the countries that would be able to come up with a vaccine,” he said.
Earlier, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) approved the Philippines’ collaboration with organizations Adimmune Corporation, Academia Sinica, Chinese Academy of Science-Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health, and Sinopharma-Wuhan Institute of Biological Products and Beijing Institute on clinical trials for vaccines they were developing.
Once finished, the clinical trials will also be one of the requirements for the vaccine registration process by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Duterte, in previous speeches, said he was looking for funds for the immediate purchase of dosages of the vaccine once it is available.
Malacañang assured that the national government is ready to implement an immunization plan should a vaccine roll out in the future.
Since a vaccine has yet to be developed, Duterte renewed his call to observe health and safety precautions such as wearing of face masks, physical distancing, and frequent washing of hands despite easing quarantine restrictions.
“Remember the Covid microbes are still in the air that you breathe, that you pass on to your fellowmen if you are not ready or willing to wear the mask. It is precisely — this is the protection not for you if you do not want it, but for the protection of the other guy,” he said.
He also justified his decision to impose community quarantines across the country to prevent the spread of the virus.
“So that to prevent a mass contagion, gusto namin putulin kung saan namin maputol (we want to cut off wherever we could cut off) to stop it. That is the reason of the essence of the police power of the state, to come up with measures to protect public interest, public health, public safety, lahat nandiyan na ‘yan (all of that, it’s there),” he said.
‘Not too bad’
After relaxing quarantine protocols across the country, Duterte said that although the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases has surpassed 15,000, the country has a low fatality rate so far.
Health authorities disclosed that 15,588 persons have been infected with Covid-19, of whom, 921 are deaths while 3,598 are recoveries, as of May 28.
There are 593 new Covid-19 cases, the largest increase in infections to date.
“The recoveries 92 new ones, with the total of something like 3,598 to date. Ang patay po (The death toll) is 921. So you would see that Philippines has ratio and proportion vis-à-vis with the population, we have a low rate of mortality here in this country. All in all, para sa akin, hindi naman masama ito (for me, this doesn’t seem too bad),” Duterte added.
From modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), Metro Manila, Regions 2 (Cagayan Valley), 3 (Central Luzon) and 4-A (Calabarzon), Pangasinan, Albay, and Davao City will be placed under the less stringent general community quarantine (GCQ) starting June 1. The rest of the country will be under the least stringent modified GCQ. (IA/PNA)