'Matagal pa ito:' Duterte says COVID-19 lifestyle may stay for 'years'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 17 2021 10:37 AM

Workers assemble a hospital bed for customers at a medical and hospital supplies store along Avenida Avenue in Manila on Aug. 16, 2021, as sales of medical equipment increase. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Workers assemble a hospital bed for customers at a medical and hospital supplies store along Avenida Avenue in Manila on Aug. 16, 2021, as sales of medical equipment increase. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Filipinos may have to practice safeguards against COVID-19 for a few more years, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday, as the Philippines continued to battle one of Asia's worst coronavirus outbreaks. 
 
Duterte as an example cited the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, which infected some 500 million people. He said the disease "was there for a long time, in the air circling" and "changed the lifestyle of the people of Europe at that time."

COVID-19, he said, also "changed the lifestyle of everybody in this planet.

"Suwerte tayo nakatikim tayo na noon makapasyal tayo, mag-inuman maski saan, nary a care about getting a virus somewhere," he said in a taped speech that aired in the wee hours of Tuesday. 

"Matagal pa ‘to. Itong virus na ‘to will just circulate in the air for years. So itong mask, itong limited social contacts natin, nandiyan na ‘yan, ‘yong distancing, at sa bahay hugas." 

(We are lucky that we experience roaming around, drinking anywhere, with nary a care about a getting a virus somewhere. This will last for a while more. This virus will just circulate in the air for years. So this mask, limited social contacts, distancing, and frequent washing of hands will be there.)

He continued, "Ganoon na ang buhay ng Pilipino, I think, for the next how many years, hindi na mawala ‘yan. Iyon na ang style. Wala na tayo ‘yung sabing pasyal ng gabi, wala na." 

(That will be the life of Filipinos, I think, for the next how many years, that will not go away That will be the style. We won't be frolicking at night.) 

The Philippines has tallied some 1.7 million coronavirus infections and 30,000 deaths. 

Malacañang earlier said authorities eyed a "mask-less" Christmas this year by ramping up the COVID-19 vaccination drive. 

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