’Goodbye PH’: Duterte wary of COVID surge due to old and new variants

The emergence of new variants of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) may mean Filipinos have to bid each other goodbye because they won’t be able to survive the infection, President Duterte warned on Thursday, Jan. 6.

President Rodrigo Duterte addresses the nation on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022. (RTVM Screenshot)

The Chief Executive blamed the unvaccinated, who procrastinated over getting the COVID-19 jab or not. He said he saw the long lines in the vaccination sites in Metro Manila but castigated those who waited at the last minute to get vaccinated.

“Napakarami pa ang wala pa . So, hindi na lang hintayin kasi pag ‘pag nagpatong-patong, kapag nagtapat ang COVID at saka sumakay itong si Omicron pati si Delta, goodbye, Philippines (There are many with no vaccines. So, we are not going to wait because if it’s one after another COVID plus the Omicron and Delta, it’s goodbye, Philippines),” Duterte said.

The President reiterated his order to barangay executives to restrict the movement of the unvaccinated because they pose a threat to the community.

“Being the President, ultimately, I am responsible for the safety and well-being of every Filipino. That is why my orders are to restrain them. Hindi naman kaagad arestuhin, pakiusap lang (Not to arrest immediately, but to talk to them),” he said.

READ: Omicron to become the dominant COVID-19 variant in 3 to 4 weeks – DOH

Aside from Delta and Omicron, Duterte is also concerned about the new variant called IHU, a new variant discovered in southeastern France with 46 mutations.

The President said the government will reactivate the Rizal Memorial Stadium as COVID-19 facility and turn other places into hospitals or extensions of hospitals.

He also wants more medicines for patients and the restriction of movement of possibly infected individuals.

“I speak to you tonight with much concern over the rising cases of COVID-19 over the Philippines, particularly in the NCR,” Duterte said.

The country on Thursday, Jan. 6, logged 17,220 new cases with a positivity rate of 36.9 percent.