Duterte to address nation as government moves to contain COVID-19

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 12 2020 04:16 PM | Updated as of Mar 12 2020 09:59 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte will address the Filipino nation on Thursday, Malacañang said as the government moves to arrest the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Duterte’s address comes after the government’s inter-agency task force handling the country’s response to the virus outbreak agreed on Thursday to adopt a resolution containing measures on how to control the spread of the disease.

“The contents of the resolution will be announced to the public following the approval by the President,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said Thursday.

Earlier in the day, Panelo confirmed that the President would be tested for COVID-19 after attending an event where a person who tested positive for the disease was also present.

Several of the government’s top officials and lawmakers have also gone on self-quarantine following exposure to a COVID-19 patient.

Among these officials are Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno.

Senators Sherwin Gatchalian, Panfilo Lacson, Imee Marcos, Francis Tolentino, and Juan Miguel Zubiri have also isolated themselves from the public as a precautionary measure against the spread of the disease.

Earlier this week, the Philippines declared a state of public health emergency and Duterte suspended classes at all levels in Metro Manila in a bid to contain the virus. The health department is on Code Red, Sub-level 1, placing medical personnel and resources on full deployment. 

As of Thursday, the Philippines has confirmed 49 COVID-19 patients. The outbreak, which began in China, has killed some 4,000 people and infected 110,000 others worldwide, prompting the World Health Organization to declare a global pandemic.