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 ( - 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: May 29, 2020 - 9:37pm

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

May 29, 2020 - 9:37pm

The Department of Health reports 1,046 new cases of the coronavirus disease, the highest surge in a day in the Philippines. This brings the national tally to 16,634.

The agency says there are 122 recoveries and 21 new fatalities. 

May 29, 2020 - 5:39pm

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire says that out of the 539 new cases reported Thursday, only 109 were "fresh cases" or those confirmed in the last three days.

The remaining were reported infections from last week.

May 29, 2020 - 9:03am

The United States records 1,297 coronavirus deaths on Thursday, bringing its total to 101,573 since the global pandemic began, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

The country has also officially logged 1,720,613 cases of the virus, far more than any other nation, the tracker kept by the Baltimore-based university showed at 8:30 pm (0030 GMT Friday). — AFP

May 29, 2020 - 7:17am

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 357,311 people since the outbreak first emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1900 GMT on Thursday. 

At least 5,747,100 cases of coronavirus have been registered in 196 countries and territories. Of these, at least 2,296,900 are now considered recovered.

The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections. — AFP

May 28, 2020 - 4:08pm

The Department of Health reports 539 new cases of the coronavirus disease, the highest in a single day, taking the national tally to 15,588.

There are 92 new recoveries and 17 new fatalities, the health department adds.

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