Duterte optimistic that Russia, US, Japan will develop COVID-19 vaccine ‘in a matter of days’

Published March 10, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte is optimistic that Russia, the United States, and Japan could develop a vaccine against the new coronavirus disease “in a matter of days.”

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers a speech during the celebration of the 120-year presence of the Baptist Churches in the Philippines at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City on January 16, 2020. (TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Amid the global outbreak of the coronavirus, the President said the best and brightest scientific minds are expected to work “overtime” for a potential vaccine.

“With the great strides now of science, in a matter of days, I’m sure Russia — the brightest of the brightest — America, Japan, they are working overtime to come up with the vaccine,” Duterte said in an assembly of the country’s mayors in Pasay City.

“It takes time pero kaya na ng mga mundo. Kaya na ng mga gobyerno (but the world has the capability. The governments are capable), especially those who are rich in technology,” he said.

The coronavirus, which broke out in Wuhan, China, has spread to more than 100 countries including the Philippines in recent weeks. The global death toll has reached the 4,000 mark while more than 100,000 people have been infected.

In the Philippines, at least 33 cases of coronavirus have been reported, including one fatality.

The President has placed the country under a state of public health emergency, mobilizing government resources to step up the prevention and control of the spread of the coronavirus. Duterte has expressed confidence that the coronavirus will eventually be defeated.

In his speech Tuesday, the President recognized that the coronavirus disease might stay “for a little while” but will eventually pass. “It’s here and I suppose it’s going to stay for a little while.”

Duterte noted that the world has previously experienced “great cleansing” such as the bubonic plague and Spanish flu pandemic.

“Speaking of contagion, I have noticed that every epoch there’s always a great cleansing of — not really cleansing dirt — but cleansing in the number of people in this planet,” he said.

“The bubonic plague, mainly it is caused by the rodents or the rats, and the Spanish flu right — was it before or after the Second World War? I think it was during even the Second — the First World War rather. Mayroon talagang great spasm and marami…,” he added.

The President remained unfazed by coronavirus threat as he continued to defy the Presidential Security Group’s (PSG) advice to adopt a “no touch policy” in his public engagements.

“Kung hindi ka na umabot (If you don’t make it), that is really your destiny,” he said.

“Hindi mo na madala ‘yan sa handshake-handshake. Maski magpunta ka ng limang milyon na handshake diyan, ‘pag hindi mo pa panahon, hindi mo talaga panahon. Ganun lang ‘yan,” he said.
(You can’t contain it by limiting handshakes. Even if you had five million handshakes, if it’s not yet your time, it’s really not yet your time. That’s all it is),” he said.

Duterte said in jest that he opposed the stricter security protocol because he might miss his chance to meet beautiful ladies at events.

“Ang problema niyan, paano ‘yung magagandang babae nandito ngayon sa kwartong ito? (The problem is, how about the many beautiful women in this room now? It’s always nice to talk to a beautiful lady, corona or no corona, especially [when] she looks like a mutya (beauty queen) with a corona (crown) on her head,” he said.