Duterte warns about coronavirus variant, calls it ‘new monster’

Published January 13, 2021, 11:35 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte has warned the public about the “new monster” following the entry of the new coronavirus variant in the country but assured that intensified testing, tracing and quarantine steps are being taken to prevent its spread.

Pres. Rodrigo Duterte

After health authorities reported the country’s first case of the new COVID variant, the President said he prays that such strain would not be “more dangerous and more toxic” than its predecessor.

“May bagong yung COVID na microbe, may sumakay ng iba, parang  kasama niya o bang microbes na apparently after the vaccination, nag-mutate. May bagong monster na naman (There is a new COVID microbe that apparently after vaccination, mutated. There is a new monster again),” Duterte said during his public address Wednesday night.

“And I pray to God really na sana, na hindi ito more dangerous, more toxic than the original COVID,” he added.

Duterte said health authorities would “raise the alarm” to monitor the latest COVID case and curb further transmission of the illness in the country. He said Department of Health personnel will go to the case tonight “to make sure so we can steps to isolate, sequester and maybe treat them na hindi na mapasa sa iba (so it will not spread to others).”

He said it was important to trace the close contacts of the COVID patient to detect if they are infected with the illness. He noted that the testing and quarantine of these close contacts would be “for their own good.”

Prior to the President’s remarks, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III reported about the country’s first case of the new coronavirus strain first reported in United Kingdom. 

Duque, in the meeting with the President and other officials on the pandemic response, said the new COVID variant, known as B117, was detected in a 29-year-old Filipino real estate agent living in Quezon City who arrived from a business trip in the United Arab Emirates.

The person tested positive a day after arrival in Manila from Dubai last January 7. His girlfriend, who accompanied the patient during the trip, tested negative but remains in quarantine.

After the DOH chief’s report, the President thanked Duque for the “active surveillance” of people infected with the coronavirus.