Duterte vows government transparency on nCoV cases
President Rodrigo Duterte reads a report on the 2019 novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) during a briefing at the Malacañan Palace on Feb. 3, 2020.
Toto Lozano/Presidential Photo

Duterte vows government transparency on nCoV cases

Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - February 4, 2020 - 8:50pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed transparency on the cases of novel coronavirus or nCoV in the Philippines as he called for an end to finger-pointing over the spread of the disease.

Duterte said the government would not gain anything if it conceals information about the nCoV, which has infected more than 17,000 people worldwide and has so far claimed more than 300 lives.

"This I can assure you, this government will never hide anything. If it says that you are going to die tomorrow because of this - it’s a contagion all over, we will tell you that," the President said in a press briefing in Malacañang Monday night.

"If it would cost your life, lives, we will not hide that. Why should we? It's a reality. Whether you admit it or not, you have to bury the dead. So what is there to hide? It's not a treasure. It is not something of value to us. It does not contribute to the national wealth. Why should we hide?" he added.

Duterte said government agencies would continue to update the media about the nCoV situation in the Philippines.
"Why should we hide it from the press? When we are supposed to tell the press, you - that go to the world and announce that there is this thing that's happening and this is what we should be doing," he added.

There have been two confirmed cases of nCoV in the Philippines, both of them Chinese nationals. One of them, a 44-year-old man, has died while his companion, a 38-year-old woman and the country's first confirmed NCoV case, is confined at the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila.

The Health department announced the first NCoV case in the Philippines last January 30. Health officials reported the death of the male Chinese patient three days later, the same day they confirmed that he is the second case of nCoV in the Philippines.

When Health Secretary Francisco Duque III reported the first NCoV case in the country last Thursday, he mentioned that the female patient had a companion who was also sick. Research Institute for Tropical Medicine Director Celia Carlos had explained that the male Chinese was "not as ill" at the time the Health department was holding the press briefing. His illness "progressed subsequently" and eventually led to his death, she said.

'Stop the Sinophobia'

Duterte also criticized what he called the "Sinophobia" triggered by the spread of the virus.

"It happened in China on - at least the first, that's it. But that is not the fault of anybody. Not of the Chinese, not of the Filipinos, not of anyone," the President said.

"Stop this Sinophobia thing," he added.

Duterte also rejected calls to impose a ban on all Chinese travelers, calling it an "utter disrespect to a human being."

"You hate anything that is Chinese. It is not good... One is that we have many Filipinos in China. Second is even if there are none, you know, we are a community of nations. We cooperate. China has been kind to us. We can only also show the same favor to them," the president said.

"If there are Chinese found positive and we do not want them to travel to further aggravate the situation, we can assure the Chinese government that we too will help," he added.

Duterte also claimed that "all is well" in the Philippines and predicted that the NCoV will die a "natural death."

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: March 5, 2021 - 4:02pm

Follow this page for updates on a mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has struck dozens of people in China.

March 5, 2021 - 4:02pm

The Philippines records 3,045 new coronavirus infections Friday—the highest single day rise since mid-October, pushing the country’s caseload to 587,704.

The department also records 178 new recoveries and 19 more fatalities, bringing the total of survivors to 535,207 and the death toll to 12,423, respectively.

Active cases in the country are at 40,074 or 6.8% of the total cases.

March 5, 2021 - 12:49pm

The World Health Organization has scrapped plans for a team that visited Wuhan, China to probe the origins of the coronavirus pandemic to issue an interim report, The Wall Street Journal reports late Thursday.

Wuhan is the city where the pandemic is believed to have originated in late 2019.

The WHO team returned recently from its visit there saying it had no clear finding on the genesis of the virus, amid tensions between the US and China on what caused the once-in-a century global health crisis. —  AFP

March 5, 2021 - 11:43am

The United States records fewer than 40,000 new cases of Covid-19 in one day for the first time in five months on Thursday, according to the Johns Hopkins University pandemic tracker.

This number peaked at nearly 300,000 new cases on January 8 in the country hardest hit by the pandemic, with more than half a million fatalities.

But now it is back down to the levels of before Thanksgiving and Christmas, when holiday travel and gatherings in defiance of safety warnings were blamed for spreading the virus further in the US. —  AFP

March 4, 2021 - 9:38am

Brazil registers a record of Covid-19 deaths for the second straight day Wednesday, with 1,910 lives lost to the pandemic.

With a surge in cases currently pushing health systems to the limit in many areas, Brazil has recorded a total of 259,271 deaths, according to the health ministry — the second-highest death toll worldwide, after the United States.

"For the first time since the pandemic began, we are seeing a deterioration across the entire country," public health institute Fiocruz said before the latest figures were published.

"The situation is alarming." —  AFP

March 3, 2021 - 8:43am

Brazil on Tuesday registers a record 1,641 deaths in 24 hours from Covid-19, health authorities announced, as the country endures a further worsening of the pandemic.

The country of 212 million inhabitants has recorded a total of 257,361 Covid-19 deaths, according to the health ministry, and has the second-highest national death toll after the United States.

Brazil continues to have a piecemeal response, with individual cities and states setting their own policies in the face of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro's repeated attacks on restrictive measures and face masks. —  AFP

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