'COVID-19 is still here': Duterte again warns public vs going outside amid pandemic

Gabriel Agcaoili, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 16 2020 02:40 AM

President Rodrigo Duterte holds a meeting with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on June 15, 2020. Simeon Celi Jr., Presidential Photo/handout

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte late Monday night reiterated his warning to Filipinos against going outside their homes amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), stressing that the country's fight against the pandemic "is not over."

"Hindi ko kayo mapigilan na lumabas. Hindi ko kayo mahuli lahat. Ang problema pati mga bata...you allow children to go out when the place is not yet ready for them outside, at nagkasakit [sila], 'wag ninyo kaming sisihin. Do not forget that we warned you about the grave consequences," he said in a streamed meeting in Malacañang.

"Madami pa ang namamatay," he added, noting of tallies of coronavirus-linked fatalities across the world.

Duterte called on the public to continue observing COVID-19 policies, like physical distancing and wearing face masks.

The Philippines, as of Monday, has recorded 26,420 COVID-19 cases with 1,098 deaths and 6,252 recoveries.

Duterte said he's not sure if the Philippines is now on a second wave of COVID-19 infections as cases "are still increasing." 

He however noted the country's recovery and death ratio, which he said was a "good record compared to other countries."

His health secretary, Francisco Duque III, earlier claimed the Philippines was already on the second wave even though coronavirus cases in the country has not yet been flattened. The Department of Health later retracted his statement.

Due to the coronavirus threat, Duterte again warned against holding physical classes, promoting the Department of Education's implementation of online enrollment policies and "blended" learning for students, which involves mixed-use of online platforms, printed or digital modules, and radio and television.

"In your desire to resume classes, ang kapalit niyan is really... the COVID is still here. Instead, we will follow a blended learning approach. Part of this learning strategy is distance and online learning using communications technology and digital devices," the President said.

He earlier said he would not allow the resumption of physical classes without a vaccine against COVID-19.