President Duterte decided to keep his mind more open to health experts as the Philippines faces the threat of the more contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In his weekly pre-recorded public address, President Duterte admitted to health workers that he needs their advice on the “mutation” of the COVID-19 virus.
“We need your (experts’) advice. It could spell the agony or the happiness of the Filipino people,” he said Monday evening.
‘This is something which I cannot decide alone because I am not a medical person and I would need and welcome every advice that I could get from everybody who has a good grasp of the problem,” he added.
On Monday, June 21, the Philippines reported that four Filipinos have tested positive for the Delta variant, bringing the total number of individuals infected with this particular strain to 17.
According to the Department of Health (DOH), three of the patients were seafarers from the MV Eastern Hope, a ship currently docked in South Korea, while the fourth case arrived from Saudi Arabia on May 24.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said none of the four patients traveled to India, the country where the variant was first detected.
She added that of the 17 patients who tested positive for the Delta variant, one died while the rest have either recovered or were still recovering.
The Delta variant was one of the reasons why President Duterte agreed to keep face shields mandatory despite saying last week that it should be required only in hospitals.
Health experts said the Delta variant was 40 percent more infectious outdoors and 60 percent more infectious indoors.