If coronavirus outbreak worsens, Duterte to turn to China for help
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said he will call China for help if the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in the Philippines deteriorates.
In his public address on the COVID-19 pandemic, Duterte revealed that Chinese President Xi Jinping wrote him a letter saying that Beijing is “willing to help” and all the Philippines should do is to ask.
“To the Chinese government, to the people, especially to President Xi Jinping, thank you for the consoling words, and maybe, I hope it would not reach to that point but maybe we will need your help. Salamat po,” Duterte said.
Duterte met with Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian on Wednesday night and discussed the two countries’ economic cooperation, including the challenges posed by the spread of COVID-19, a respiratory disease that first emerged in China’s city of Wuhan in Hubei province in late 2019.
The President also took note of Xi’s handling of the health emergency and expressed his condolences to the victims of the collapse last week of a coronavirus quarantine hotel in the coastal city of Quanzhou.
COVID-19 disease that has swept into at least 114 countries and killed more than 4,000 people is now officially a pandemic according to the World Health Organization.
To date, the Philippines has 52 confirmed cases of COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus that first emerged in China’s city of Wuhan in Hubei province in late 2019.
The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses named the novel coronavirus as SARS-CoV-2.
The virus causes mild symptoms such as fever and cough for most people but can cause serious illness such as pneumonia for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems.
To prevent infection, authorities are urging people to practice regular hand washing, cover the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and avoid close contact with those who show respiratory symptoms.
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