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#OustDuterte trends as gov’t belies ‘relaxed’ approach to nCoV scare

/ 05:33 PM January 31, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos dismayed with the government’s supposed lack of urgency in addressing the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) took to Twitter on Friday to call for the ouster of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The topic #OustDuterte trended on Twitter with netizens claiming that the government’s tact in the face of the dreaded virus would put Filipinos’ lives in peril. Netizens are particularly railing against the Duterte administration’s initial refusal to take immediate action on recommendations to impose a travel ban on all tourists coming from mainland China.

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#OustDuterte was the number three most popular topic on Twitter at 2:30 p.m., until it hit the number one spot at 3:30 p.m. until posting time.

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The call for Duterte’s ouster stemmed from his somewhat belated order for a temporary ban on the entry of all travelers from China’s Hubei province, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV outbreak, on Friday, a day after the Department of Health reported the first confirmed case of novel coronavirus infection in the country.

Prior to the confirmation of the first nCoV case, some groups and lawmakers have already urged the national government to impose a travel ban from China to stop the entry of the new coronavirus strain.

Duterte, however, rejected the calls, saying that it would be unfair for the Chinese people.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo defended Duterte and assured the public that the government is not “relaxing” in addressing the health concern.

“Meron na siyang instructions. Dati nang may mga protocols, ginagawa na nga yun eh (Duterte has already barked out instructions. We have protocols and they are being enforced)” Panelo told reporters.

“Ano bang relax eh operational na nga lahat ng mga protocols e (What relaxing? All protocols are already operational)” he added

Duterte’s longtime aide and now Senator Christopher “Bong” Go earlier said the President will meet with concerned government officials next week to discuss measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

When asked why Duterte had to wait until next week to meet his officials to discuss the issue, Panelo said the meeting was supposed to update the Chief Executive of the new developments on the health concern.

To date, China has reported 9,692 confirmed cases of the new virus with a death toll of 213. Eighteen other countries have since reported cases, as scientists race to understand how exactly the virus is spreading and how severe it is. In Hubei alone, there are 4,903 cases, including 162 deaths.

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TAGS: #OustDuterte, China, coronavirus outbreak, Malacañang, novel coronavirus, Rodrigo Duterte
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