By Genalyn Kabiling
The public should “not panic” and “not kill yourself with worry” over the public health emergency brought by the coronavirus, President Duterte said Thursday night while announcing several measures to contain the spread of the disease.
The President assured the nation that the government is exhausting efforts to put the health “crisis” under control but will need the patience and cooperation of the public.
Metro Manila has been placed under community quarantine as part of the latest government measures to prevent the deadly virus from spreading. The Code Red Sublevel 2 alert is now raised amid the escalating cases of infections.
“Do not panic. Huwag kayong masyadong ma-stress na parang hindi mo na magawa ang gusto mong gawin. Puwede pa rin pero may restrictions tayo, may mga kondisyon dahil nga sa crisis (Don’t be stressed out that you can’t do things you want. You can but there will be some restrictions, conditions because of the crisis),” the President said in his public address in Malacanang.
“It’s a serious one. It is true. Huwag ninyong maliitin (Do not underestimate it). Do not minimize it, I said, but do not kill yourself with worry because government is doing everything possible to make it at least controllable, but kung kayo po ay mag-cooperate (but you must cooperate),” he added.
He also asked the public to be patient as the government carries out the community quarantine in Metro Manila and other strict social distancing measures.
“Konting pasensiya lang (Have a little patience). It’s for your own good. Let’s help each other at this time of our life because everything is placed in jeopardy,” he said.
Duterte admitted that there is no cure yet for the coronavirus disease that affects many countries including the Philippines but urged the public not to be afraid. He said they can prevent infection by keeping themselves healthy and practicing social distancing, among others.
“Huwag kayong matakot, huwag kayong manerbiyos pero wala pang, sabi ko nga, antidote nito (Don’t be scared, don’t be nervous but there is no antidote yet). It would only come in a form of a vaccine,” he said.
“Ang panglaban lang natin diyan ‘yung katawan natin na medyo, ano ka, in good health na walang sakit (Our weapon is our body in good health, without illness. Those feeling weak), Iyong medyo mahina, make yourself healthier by whatever means, maybe food, vitamins,” he said.
The President has approved a resolution issued by the inter-agency task force on the imposition of stringent social distancing measures in the National Capital Region (NCR) for 30 days.
The measures include suspension of land, domestic air, and sea travel to and from Metro Manila from March 15 to April 14, extension of class suspension until April 12, ban on mass gatherings, community quarantine in Metro Manila, and work suspension in the executive branch.
The government also encouraged flexible work arrangements in the private sector. All manufacturing, retail, and service establishments shall remain in operation during the same period, provided that strict social distancing measures are observed.