Health

Philippines’ Duterte threatens unvaccinated people with arrest

Duterte in a televised address to the nation said he was
asking community leaders to look for unvaccinated people and make sure they
were confined to their homes.

“If he refuses, if he goes out his house and goes
around the community, he can be restrained. If he refuses, the captain is
empowered now to arrest recalcitrant persons,” Duterte said.

Daily coronavirus infections in the Philippines hit the
highest since Sep 26 at 17,220 cases on Thursday, the health ministry said,
including those caused by the omicron variant of COVID-19.

The tally, which was more than triple recorded on Tuesday
brought total cases to over 2.88 million, and deaths to more than 51,700, the
second highest COVID-19 infections and casualties in Southeast Asia, next to
Indonesia.

“I am responsible for the safety and well being of
every Filipino,” Duterte said as he challenged those who disapprove of his
directive to file a case against him.

At the end of last year, 49.8 million people had been fully
vaccinated, or 45% of the country’s 110 million people. Under existing rules
unvaccinated people in the capital region of Manila can only step out of their
homes for essential trips.

Duterte is known for his bellicose rhetoric. Last year, he
threatened people who refuse to get inoculated with jail or an injection of
Ivermectin, an anti-parasite drug widely used to treat animals.

But his latest remarks underscored his government’s growing
concerns over the rising number of COVID-19 cases which health experts warn
could overwhelm the country’s health systems again.

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The Philippines has so far detected 43 domestic and imported
cases of omicron, prompting the government to tighten curbs this week.

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