President Duterte said he is happy that the Philippines has been seeing a low number of Covid-19 cases over the past few weeks but said the country is not out of danger yet because of the other looming variants of the virus.
Duterte made the statement after the Department of Health (DOH) reported only 1,571 Covid-19 cases reported from April 12 to 18 compared to the 1,902 recorded the week before that.
In his pre-recorded public address aired late Monday, April 18, the President said he was happy with the positive development in the country’s fight against the pandemic.
“I’m happy to note that the number of Covid cases has gone down, considerably,” he said.
“With our vigilance and our ever conscious of our safety, we’ll be able to gain the upper hand in the fight against Covid-19,” he added.
However, Duterte said that the Philippines is not yet safe due to the other variants like the Omicron XE and the resurgence of cases that were reported in other countries like China which was one of the first to get a hold of a Covid-19 vaccine.
“We are not out of danger. We are not out of the woods, ika nga (as they say),” he said.
“The Covid-19, originally, has sprouted so many variants at hindi natin alam na baka sakali may resurgence kagaya ng ibang countries (we don’t know if we’ll have a resurgence like in other countries)– it’s happening now in Japan, China. You would not believe it; they were the first to even have the vaccines at magkaroon sila ng surge na ganoon (but they still saw a surge),” he added.
According to the President, he asked medical experts in the country about what contributed to the Philippines having a low number of Covid-19 cases.
“Ang sabi ng mga doktor (The doctors said), it’s because we maintained the requirement of having a mask. Sa kanila kasi tinanggal nila ang mask kaagad (In other countries, they removed that requirement already),” Duterte said.
“But, you know, [be] ever conscious of the fact that they can come back; the Covid-19 or its variants will come back with a vengeance,” he added.
President Duterte reiterated his earlier pronouncement that he would not let the country go maskless as long as he was president.
“Better be on the side of prudence,” he said.
“It would be better if we maintain the requirement of wearing a mask. And so, ako (for me), that will be a mandatory requirement until the last day, until I go out of the presidency,” he added.
“Kaunting bagay lang ‘yan (It’s just a small thing). It will go away, I know, but it is not the time to be complacent,” he continued.