President Rodrigo Duterte has reminded Filipinos to return to strict compliance with COVID-19 protocols to arrest a spike in cases, telling them: "You only live once."
Duterte, who turns 76 in late March, said the public should be more mindful of their safety and of those around them. He said it doesn't matter of they feel they're going to heaven or hell.
"Sabi nga, basta ang sabi ko itong washing of the hands, social distancing and mask. It’s your life. You only live once," Duterte said in his weekly address to the nation that was aired late Monday.
"Kung ready ka na kung saan pumunta, kung totoo man ‘yong impiyerno pati langit, eh ‘di mamili ka na doon. Kung anong nasa pinaglakihan mo na relihiyon at may ganoon, eh ‘di ready ka because, I said, you have only one life to live so please guard yourself," he said.
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The Philippines has reported COVID-19 cases in the 3,000 region for four straight days since March 5, levels not seen since October 2020.
Duterte said this was because people "abandoned protocols" as restrictions started to ease. He said government was moving to contain the spread of new variants, with the South African and UK types detected locally.
"At ulit-ulitin ko uli, hindi kami mag --- hindi kami nagkakamali kasi trabaho namin ‘yan. Bayad kami diyan. At kung bayad kami diyan, ano man gawin namin dito sa pagbabayad ninyo, mag-upo lang?" he said.
ONE YEAR SINCE 2020 LOCKDOWN:
Health Sec. Francisco Duque III said cases were rising in the Southern Tagalog Region, Central Luzon, Central Visayas, and Metro Manila.
Duque said "critical areas" in terms of healthcare utilization in Metro Manila are Pasay City, and Malabon City. Navotas, Makati and San Juan are are one notch lower, classified as "high-risk."
The Philippines will mark this week one year since the first nationwide lockdown, called Enhanced Community Quarantine or ECQ. Except for Metro Manila and some areas that are under General Community Quarantine (second lowest), the entire Philippines is under the lowest restrictions, Modified General Community Quarantine.
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