MANILA – The Philippines is “doing good” in its fight against Covid-19 compared to other countries, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday night.
In a pre-recorded public address, Duterte made the remark while praising Health Secretary Francisco Duque III for leading the country’s efforts to respond to the prevailing pandemic.
“Compared with other countries, which is not really the time to make comparisons, but we’re doing good in the fight against Covid. And Secretary Duque is the hero there,” he said.
Citing the health department’s case bulletin, Duterte said it is worth looking at the country’s total Covid-19 recoveries instead of just the total number of infections.
As of Monday, health authorities recorded 7,255 new Covid-19 cases bringing the total active cases to 69,466. Covid-19 recoveries increased to 975,234 with the addition of 9,214 new recovered patients.
“When you try to figure out the actual numbers of the Covid cases, yung na-contaminate, recovery, tapos nakalabas na, kindly pag-aralan ninyo kung ilan ang nagkasakit at ilang ang gumaling (those who were contaminated, recovered and were discharged from the hospital, kindly study how many how many are getting sick and how many are recovering),” he said.
Duterte assured the public that the government is working “diligently” to slow down the spread of the virus.
“I assure you that we are all working diligently and truthfully. At gusto namin talagang makatulong (We really want to help),” he said.
While he admitted that the country is far from acquiring enough Covid-19 vaccines to inoculate the target 50 to 70 million Filipinos, Duterte noted that more vaccines are coming.
“We still have to have the vaccines in numbers because we have plenty of Filipinos to vaccinate,” he said.
The country now has three brands of Covid-19 vaccines in its inventory namely “Sputnik V” from Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, “CoronaVac” from China’s Sinovac Biotech, and “AstraZeneca” from a British-Swedish manufacturing company of the same name.
He is also optimistic of the government’s procurement of vaccines from different manufacturers.
“Wala tayong problema, sa tingin ko (We don’t have a problem, I think), in the acquisition ng bakuna (of vaccines) because we have at least some guarantees from countries who honor the contract at darating ‘yan ng panahon kailangan natin (and they will come at the time we need them),” he said.
He, however, expressed hope that vaccines acquired by the country would also be effective against new coronavirus variants.
“Let us just pray that itong mga (these) variants, itong mga (these) mutants will not go haywire. ‘Yan ang bantayan natin. Baka hindi na ma-control ng isang bakuna lang and we do not have insight yet kung anong pinag-aralan ng mga scientists (That’s what we should monitor. Maybe it can no longer be controlled by one vaccine and we do not have insight yet about what scientists are studying),” he said.
Duterte urged the country’s scientists to rise up to the challenge of learning more about the new strains of the virus.
“This would be another challenge maybe to our native scientists to work harder tsaka kaya man nila ito kung talagang trabahuin nila. Hindi man tayo nagkulang (and they can actually do it if they really work on it. We did not lack in providing them what they need). We will provide them with all that is necessary really to make a conclusive finding if they have one,” he added. (PNA)