Duterte warns of possible lockdown if ‘more aggressive’ Delta variant spreads
MANILA, Philippines — In his final State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte warned of a possible lockdown should the more transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant spreads in the country.
“It (Delta) is rampaging now in Indonesia, Thailand, India and many parts of Asia…Western medicine says that it is far more aggressive, far more dangerous, and it can cause death [more] easily than the COVID-19 original,” Duterte said in his speech.
“So this is as good as any other time to say it, this is, and it is really dangerous, you have to go back to lockdown…If ever it (Delta) will spread, we have it here now, I hope it will not go any farther but if something wrong happens, I have to be strict,” he added.
Meanwhile, Duterte admitted not knowing what to do in dealing with the threat of COVID-19, saying he relies on the advice of his task force.
“I really do not know what to do, I have to listen to the task force,” he said.
Similar to what he mentioned at the beginning of his SONA, he urged Filipinos to “pray for salvation” should a new vaccine be required for immunity against the Delta variant.
“If it requires a new vaccine, we do not have it yet, I don’t know…maybe we’ll just have to pray for salvation sabihin natin [we’ll say] ‘Diyos [God], we have done everything,” Duterte said.
Nevertheless, Duterte assured that the government will “exert every effort to ensure the lost livelihood of our affected countrymen.”
On Sunday, the Department of Health (DOH) said it detected 55 new COVID-19 Delta variant cases in the country just days after the agency confirmed the local transmission of the highly contagious variant.
The total number of Delta variant cases is now at 119.
On Friday, the government expanded its travel restriction on travelers from Malaysia and Thailand in a bid to prevent the entry of the COVID-19 Delta variant. The ban started on July 25 and will last until July 31.
Before this, the Philippines has imposed travel bans on Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman until the end of the month.
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