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Duterte: nCoV to die a natural death

PhilStar Global logo PhilStar Global 2/3/2020 Alexis Romero
Rodrigo Duterte holding a microphone: Duterte: nCoV to die a natural death © Alber Alcain/Presidential Photo Duterte: nCoV to die a natural death

MANILA, Philippines — Despite the rising number of patients being probed for the 2019-novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (nCoV), President Duterte yesterday declared that everything is well in the country as he predicted that the virus would eventually “die a natural death.”

Duterte said there is no need to be hysterical about the virus, noting that only one person has died of the disease so far.

“Let’s start with the narratives by saying that everything is well in the country. There is nothing really to be extra scared of that coronavirus thing although it has affected a lot of countries...You know one or two in any country is not really that fearsome,” the President said in a press briefing at Malacañang.

Health officials confirmed the Philippines’ first case of nCoV on Thursday.

Duterte said the nCoV might worsen “in the meantime,” but would die a “natural death” just like the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), an illness recognized as a global threat in 2003.

“You know, the progress of medical science now is far too different (from) the yesteryears,” he said.

Duterte also ordered the health department to prepare a room or space for patients who exhibited symptoms of the nCoV.

He, however, said the country does not need a quarantine facility for now because the minimum number of patients for it to be required is four. So far, the Philippines has recorded only two confirmed cases of nCoV.

The President said the government is also prepared to buy face masks, noting that the supply in the market has been depleted because of high demand.

Duterte also expressed belief that there is no need to expand the travel ban to include other countries affected by the virus. The temporary travel ban only covers travelers from China and its administrative regions Macau and Hong Kong.

Duterte also decried the anti-Chinese sentiments in the social media, saying the Chinese should not be blamed for the spread of the virus.

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