Duterte warns another lockdown if COVID-19 infections spike

By CNN Philippines Staff

President Rodrigo Duterte has warned of a possible return to enhanced community quarantine if the number of coronavirus infection spikes as more areas are slowly reopening.

“Kung babalik tayo sa dati (If we will go back to the situation before), if the contamination will be as fast as before and it will continue to infect yung nakalabas na (those who are already allowed to go outside), then we’ll have to just go back to the original program,” said Duterte in a late night address.

Areas considered as high-risk, including Metro Manila and six other provinces, have been placed under a modified enhanced community quarantine since May 16. This means select industries were allowed to reopen.

Duterte noted that these areas were placed under such restriction to contain the COVID-19 infections.

“Itong mga lugar na hindi pa binuksan, which are under the modified lockdown, ito yung nakita namin na talagang kailangan para hindi lalala ang sitwasyon,” he said.

[Translation: These areas which are not yet reopened, which are under the modified lockdown, these are the ones we think to place in such restriction to avoid making things worse.]

Meanwhile, more than 50 provinces were allowed to go back to their normal day-to-day lives starting last weekend.

The Department of Health already warned of another lockdown if cases surge again. So far, the country has more than 12,940 cases with around 2,800 recoveries and about 830 deaths.

The President reiterated his reminder for the public to maintain social distancing, use alcohol, and wear face masks in public, especially until a vaccine is ready for mass production.

He touted that the coronavirus vaccine trial of biotech company Moderna showed early positive results.

The company said that if future studies go well, the vaccine could be available to the public as early as January.

Duterte said the public should “stay alive” and fight off COVID-19 until then.

“Kung ganoon huwag ka sanang mamatay hanggang January, hintayin mo ‘yung vaccine. Kapag tinawag ka ng kamatayan sabihin mo, p***** i** ka umalis ka diyan kay may hinihintay ako na vaccine. Hindi ko pa panahon mamatay. Iyan ang good news talaga,” he said.

[Translation: I hope you don’t die before January, wait for the vaccine. When death comes knocking, tell them you’re waiting for the vaccine and you cannot die yet. The arrival of the vaccine is good news.]

Moderna has vaccinated dozens of study participants and measured antibodies in eight of them. All eight developed neutralizing antibodies to the virus at levels reaching or exceeding the levels seen in people who’ve naturally recovered from COVID-19, according to the company. That suggests — but yet to be proven — that the vaccine triggers some level of immunity.

The promising early data have not yet been published in a scientific journal. Moderna is one of eight potential vaccines for coronavirus worldwide that is undergoing human testing.

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