A medical worker takes an oropharyngeal swab from a woman during mass testing for the coronavirus in Philippine capital Manila, on April 15. (Photo: Ted Aljibe/AFP)
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is looking at imposing a total lockdown in Manila until April 30, according to a presidential spokesman.
Duterte was disappointed after receiving reports of many quarantine violations in the country’s capital, spokesman Harry Roque said on April 16.
The president had earlier expressed dismay at local officials who could not “discipline” residents in their communities.
“Right now, we are considering a total lockdown, especially since there are many people still loitering in the streets. Only those with a quarantine pass will be allowed to go out and that is only one per household. Those who do not have any business outside will be apprehended,” Roque said on national television.
He said that although a decision has yet to made by the president, everyone is urged to stay at home and avoid unnecessary movement that contributes to the spread of the coronavirus.
He begged Manila residents to be more disciplined and patient during the quarantine because a possible “cure” may be on the way.
Duterte claimed that a possible cure or antibody treatment could be ready before the country lifts its lockdowns, known as enhanced community quarantines, on April 30.
“The experiments are going into high gear. We might see and find a cure in a few days,” Duterte said in a televised speech.
He said experts were trying to come up with a cure by using the blood of patients who had recovered from the virus.
Philippine hospitals have been calling for blood donations from Covid-19 survivors to use in the treatment of virus-infected patients.
Plasma treatment is being explored to boost the immune system of Covid-19 patients, though experts say it is still premature to say whether this will provide a cure.
“Some of them [Covid patients], their chest X-rays have improved, some inflammatory markers that we’ve checked have decreased in some of these patients … but we don’t want to pre-hype. We need to wait for further results, but that’s what we are seeing now,” Francisco Lopez, a physician atSt. Luke’s Medical Center in Manila, said.
Meanwhile, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator of Manila Archdiocese, has called on every Filipino Catholic to be more generous during the pandemic to boost the morale of those in need.
“If people are not able to work, it is not that they do not want to work. Everyone among us is a victim of these hard times … The challenge is how to keep the morale of our people high in spite of the fact that we all face hard times,” he said.
“Let us all face this new situation by being more generous to our poor brothers and sisters.”
As of April 16, the Philippines had recorded 5,660 Covid-19 cases with 362 deaths, according to government figures.