(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE MANILA TIMES)
Duterte to seek China help if Covid worsens
PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte said he would seek the help of China if the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak in the Philippines worsens.
Duterte made the statement as he bared that Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed willingness to assist the country in its fight against the deadly disease.
“President Xi Jinping for all of his goodness to us wrote me a letter and said that he is willing to help, all we have to do is to ask. Ako ang tingin ko (What I think), maybe there will be a time, if things deteriorate, that I have to call on China to help. He said they have managed the crisis very well in his country and he is very much willing to help,” Duterte said in his address to the nation on Thursday night.
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“To the Chinese government, to the people, especially to President Xi Jinping, thank you for the consoling words and maybe, I hope that it would not reach to that point but maybe we will need your help,” he added.
China has made major strides in its battle against the virus, prompting Xi to visit Wuhan, the epicenter of the global epidemic, on Tuesday and declare that it has “basically curbed” the spread of the disease.
On Wednesday, Duterte met with China’s Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian in Malacañang, where they discussed continued economic cooperation and coronavirus response by the two countries.
During the call, Duterte extended sympathies to the Chinese people affected by the coronavirus, which has infected over 80,000 people including some 3,000 deaths in China, where the virus originated.
The Philippines is now under a state of public health emergency after the health department reported the first known local transmission.
On Thursday, Duterte placed Metro Manila under “community quarantine,” closing it to land and domestic air and sea travel for one month due to the coronavirus.
The health department has raised the highest Code Red Sub-level 2 because of “sustained community transmission.”
The government’s inter-agency task force will issue protocols on Friday on who will be allowed to travel to and from Metro Manila during the month-long community quarantine.
The country has so far 52 confirmed cases, including five deaths, as of Thursday, according to the Department of Health. CATHERINE S. VALENTE
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