MANILA – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Thursday said a vaccine or medicine must be developed to defeat the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), admitting that the country is still facing a “big problem” due to the pandemic.
“Hanggang wala pong bakuna, hanggang wala pong gamot sa sakit na iyan, hindi po tayo mananalo laban sa Covid-19 (We will never win against Covid-19 unless there is a vaccine or medicine for that disease),” Roque said in a virtual presser aired on state-run PTV-4.
A day before, Roque was euphoric that the country was able to disprove the prediction of the University of the Philippines’ (UP) research team that Covid-19 cases in the Philippines could swell to 40,000 by June 30.
“Pero alam ko po, malaki pa rin ang problema, at ultimately, kailangan talaga ang bakuna at [gamot] (I am aware that the problem is still big, and ultimately, what we really need is vaccine and medicine),” he said.
As of June 30, the Philippines has reported 37,514 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 10,233 recoveries and 1,266 fatalities.
On July 1, Covid-19 infections in the Philippines have climbed to 38,511.
On June 22, President Rodrigo Duterte was elated that many countries have made significant progress in the development of Covid-19 vaccine.
In his 13th weekly report to Congress, Duterte also noted that around 288 Covid-19 patients in the Philippines have enrolled in the Solidarity Trials of the World Health Organization (WHO).
The “Solidarity Trial” launched by WHO and its partners is meant to test the safety and effectiveness of possible vaccines against Covid-19.
Four possible drugs and drug combinations that have been tested in the trial include Chloroquine or Hydroxychloroquine, Remdesivir, Lopinavir or Ritonavir, and Lopinavir or Ritonavir with Interferon beta-1a.
‘Ultimate weapon’ vs. Covid-19
Roque said the actions taken by the government only help slow the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
He also warned that people’s defiance of health and quarantine protocols would only lead to “100 percent” fast transmission of Covid-19 infections.
“Sa pagbabago ng ugali at nakasanayan tulad ng pagsusuot ng face mask, paghuhugas ng kamay, pagso-social distancing, mananaig tayo laban sa sakit (When we change our habit by using face mask, washing our hands, and observing social distancing, we will win against this disease),” Roque said.
Roque said following the quarantine rules is the country’s “ultimate weapon” against Covid-19.
He, however, said the success of the country in fighting Covid-19 lies in the hands of Filipinos.
“Nasa kamay po natin kung anong mangyayari sa atin dito sa gitna ng pandemyang ito (Our fate amid this pandemic lies in our hands),” Roque said. “’Yung ultimate weapon na gagamitin natin, nasa kamay po ng taumbayan (The ultimate weapon that we will use is up to the public).” (PNA)