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WATCH: 'Everything is well': Duterte assures nation on novel coronavirus risk


MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte assured the Philippines late Monday night that the two confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus—one of whom died over the weekend—are nothing to be alarmed about.

Speaking to media after a meeting with top officials over the 2019-nCoV outbreak, Duterte stressed that the two cases had arrived in the Philippines from China and are not cases of local transmission.  

"Everything is well in the country. There's nothing really to be extra scared of that coronavirus thing. Although it has affected a lot of countries, but you know, one or two in any country is not really that fearsome," he said.

"In the Philippines, we only have two cases... two reported deaths but they were Chinese... imported, hindi galing dito. It was not a native of the Philippines but rather it was an imported one," he said, referring to the two travelers who are from Wuhan in China but arrived from Hong Kong on January 21.

The first confirmed case was a 38-year-old woman who had flown to Cebu and Dumaguete before being admitted to a hospital in Manila on January 25. The second case, a 44-year-old man, has been described as her partner or boyfriend.

He died on Saturday, the Department of Health and World Health Organization announced on Sunday.

Duterte also spoke out against calls to bar all Chinese people from the Philippines.

"You know, it is not only a case of bad taste but it is not good for us Filipinos to be saying that. Remember, there are now so many thousands of Filipinos in China and they cannot go out because coming in or going out of China is prohibited." 

The Philippines has implemented a ban on all arrivals with a history of travel to or transit through China and its special administrative regions Macau and Hong Kong in the last 14 days. 

The Palace said last Friday that "the president has issued a travel ban to Chinese nationals coming from the Hubei province of China where the nCoV originated, as well in other places in China where there is a spread of the disease," although the restrictions have since been expanded to include all arrivals from China, Macau, and Hong Kong.

Filipinos are also prohibited from traveling to China and its special administrative regions. Filipinos and permanent residents who have been or passed through those areas are subject to quarantine.




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