Rumors that the Department of Health (DOH) is withholding information on the true state of 2019-nCoV in the country to avoid causing panic is not true, said President Rodrigo Duterte, assuring that government has the situation under control.
“Wala naman — wala namang itinago doon (There’s nothing. nothing is being hidden). We will not… I can assure you. This government will never hide anything,” Duterte said in a press conference in Malacañang on Monday night.
“If it says that you are going to die tomorrow because of this — it’s a contagion all over, we will tell you that,” he added.
Duterte said it was useless pretending that there were fewer persons under investigation for 2019-nCoV because it was not worth hiding.
“If it would cost your life, lives, we will not hide that. Why should we? It’s a reality. Whether you admit it or not, you have to bury the dead. So what is there to hide? It’s not a treasure. It is not something of value to us. It does not contribute to the national wealth. Why should we hide?” Duterte said.
Rumors that the DOH is hiding information made rounds of the internet particularly on the two 2019-nCoV cases whose confirmation was not released at the same time.
On Saturday, the country’s second 2019-nCoV case, a 44-year-old Chinese male from Wuhan, China, died. He was the first reported death due to the deadly virus outside of China.
He was the companion of the 38-year-old woman from Wuhan, China who was the first confirmed case of nCoV in the country.
Nothing to fear
Duterte said the virus should not be a cause for panic since the government has the situation under control.
“Everything is well in the country. There’s nothing really to be extra scared of that coronavirus thing. Although it has affected a lot of countries but in… You know one or two in any country is not really that fearsome,” Duterte said.
He urged the public to minimize hysterics and instead be vigilant in preventing the spread of the virus by observing proper hygiene and seeking medical treatment.
“You know, this coronavirus is scaring people all over the country. The response of the people from the initial reports of coronavirus was almost hysterical when there was really no need for it actually. And if there is really a virus going around, why do you have to be hysterical?” Duterte said.
“Why don’t you just go to the hospital and have yourself treated? Or if you want (to be) quarantined if you suspect that you have acquired (it),” he added.
With the help of “medical science”, Duterte said powerful medicines have been formulated to treat various illnesses.
“I’m sure I said that every nation who has the resources would or already are at work to find out a solution or a way out,” Duterte said.
“Malay mo ‘yung atin (Who knows we)— the Filipinos are also doing it. They are conducting… Who knows that tayo ang maka-una makita (we could be the first to find a treatment),” he added.
Currently, there is no specific treatment recommended for 2019-nCoV. Instead, supportive care is given to infected individuals to help relieve symptoms.
Although the government has yet to decide on a quarantine facility to house Filipinos from Hubei province who are expected to be repatriated this week, Duterte raised the possibility of expropriation.
“Well, I will expropriate. Kunin ko ‘yung building mo (I will acquire your building) whether you like it or not. In times of emergency, I can… I can always… It is confiscatory in nature,” Duterte said.
“You confiscate. Then you make it a hospital. Bring in the equipment and you stay there inside the building where the egress and ingress are controlled,” he added.
Earlier, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana bared that the DOH is eyeing the drug rehabilitation center in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija as a possible quarantine facility for Filipinos returning from Wuhan, China.
Fort Magsaysay can accommodate up to 10,000 people, the DOH said.
More face masks
As more drug and medical supply stores continue to run out of surgical face masks, Duterte said that the government will be procuring more supplies.
“If you’re asking, is the government doing something to buy more, to protect more? Yes, we are doing it. We are not just sitting down here. That’s why we called for this conference and we have resources coming in,” Duterte said.
Duterte said the virus caused the increased demand for face masks.
“The supply is depleted because there is an emergency and there’s a need for it. So everybody is buying,” Duterte said.
“That’s the reason why there is a scarce supply in the market. Without the virus, the — the masks are not being sold by the thousands. Eh may virus eh kaya ‘yung virus ang nagpamahal niyan (There’s a virus that’s why it’s the virus making it expensive),” he added.
Earlier, the Chinese government donated a total of 200,000 surgical masks amid a reported shortage in the country, according to Malacañang.
Despite the threat of being infected with the fast-spreading virus, the 74-year-old President said he was not limiting his public engagements to avoid getting sick.
“When my time comes, it will come. When your time comes, we will know because you will be absent. And we will not see you anymore,” Duterte said.
He admitted that he continues to shake hands with several people, especially in events.
“You know, when my time comes, you will know. Because I will go out of Malacañan in a funeral car,” he quipped. (PNA)