There’s no question our tough-guy president has a habit of threatening abuse towards inanimate objects to show them who’s boss. First, he threatened to piss down the Taal Volcano’s throat if it didn’t start behaving. Now he’s set his sights on the novel coronavirus itself, vowing that if he ever gets his hands on that “f**king” microbe, he’s gonna slap the s**t out of that “idiot.”
The president made the remarks at a meeting with local chief executives on the nCoV-2019 coronavirus in Pasay City, where he lauded the country’s health officials for their “prompt and efficient response” to the virus threat, for coordinating the smooth repatriation of Filipinos to the New Clark City quarantine zone, and for easing the public’s fears.
The chief executive again downplayed the virus threat, joke-coughing several times over the duration of his nearly one-hour speech. The president maintained that Filipinos will have to “rely on how strong the antibodies of the Philippines are. Filipinos don’t get sick easily.”
He added that “we can defeat the virus,” and that “the national government remains to be on top of the threat” and is “prepared to handle this public health emergency in case the worst scenario happens.”
Duterte went on to maintain that he trusts the country’s health chief’s experience and expertise, and that he believes actively engaging schools and private and public offices in better health practices will contribute to thwarting the virus. But, Duterte being Duterte, he couldn’t help but veer into macho-man hyperbole, saying in English and Filipino, “You know, if we can’t handle this f**king coronavirus, I’ve been looking for it, because I want to slap the idiot.”
But just in case Duterte slapping the virus (into submission? non-existence?) doesn’t pan out, he added that no matter how bad the virus gets outside of the Philippines, he will continue bringing home Filipinos abroad. He added that the 32 repatriated Filipinos being housed at Clark have not yet shown symptoms.
Yesterday, the Health Department confirmed that a 38-year-old Chinese woman, the Philippines’ first coronavirus patient (who was also the wife of the second case, and the first fatality outside of China) has reportedly recovered from the disease and was discharged from a Manila hospital after testing negative for 2019-nCoV twice. Her partner, a 44-year-old Chinese man, was buried on Saturday following delays over his cremation.
As of this morning, the country is still monitoring 261 potential cases across 15 regions, but the Philippines has so far only seen three confirmed cases.