Lorenzana on martial law social media gossip: ‘Fake news’
MANILA, Philippines—Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday (Jan. 6) denied online chatter that the government would declare martial law due to a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases.
A voice clip of an unidentified woman was making rounds on Facebook Messenger, asking the public to stock up on supplies that would last until the end of the month in case President Rodrigo Duterte declares martial law.
“Not true. Fake news,” Lorenzana told reporters.
The Philippines on Thursday reported 17,220 new COVID-19 cases, the highest in over three months and a new record high 36.9 percent positivity rate amid the suspected local transmission of Omicron, a highly contagious coronavirus variant. Analysts said the peak was still to come in the Philippines.
Lorenzana, who is also chair of the national COVID-19 task force, said declaring martial law was “definitely out of the picture.”
“There is no compelling reason to declare martial law,” said Lorenzana.
“The highest we had was 26,000 plus last year. Today we have 17,220. This variant, while more transmissible, is less virulent than Delta. Less people get seriously sick,” he said, referring to numbers of cases.
The task force is studying the enforcement of new quarantine restrictions “but not a total lockdown,” Lorenzana said.
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