Philippines Rodrigo Duterte on Monday (June 21, local time) threatened to jail those who refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Mr. Duterte made this tough stance in the context that the Philippines is promoting vaccination to prevent the rapid spread of the Indian variant, the Wuhan virus.
[Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte]
“If you are an unvaccinated person and a potential carrier of a disease, then to protect the people, I must quarantine you in prison,” Duterte said in a televised address on Thursday night Two (June 21). Village leaders should make a list of those who refuse to be vaccinated, Duterte suggested.
“You have to choose, either the vaccine or I will put you in jail,” Duterte said firmly.
President Duterte’s statement above comes after reports that the number of people getting vaccinated against COVID-19 was quite low at vaccination sites in the capital Manila.
Mr. Duterte’s comments contradict statements made by health officials in his administration. Philippine health officials said that although people are urged to get a COVID-19 vaccine, it is still voluntary.
Duterte then further explained: “Don’t get me wrong, there is a [health] crisis in this country right now. I really resent the Filipino people who don’t care about the government.”
If implemented, President Duterte’s threat could be one of the most severe measures to promote vaccination in a country where the majority of people are uncertain or refuse to be vaccinated. In Indonesia, earlier this year, the government of the country implemented a fine or suspended subsidies for those who refused to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Bangkok Post.
Also in his speech on the evening of June 21, Mr. Duterte announced the suspension of plans to reopen schools and continued to maintain the mandatory mask wearing order.
Duterte said he would not abide by a court ruling on how to manage the coronavirus pandemic after lawyers in Cebu province questioned the testing and isolation procedures of the national task force on coronavirus. response to COVID-19.
“The first wave has really drained government resources. Another wave of [contagion] would be catastrophic for this country. That’s why the more strict you are, the better,” Duterte said.
According to Reuters, the Philippines is currently one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in Asia, with 1.3 million infections and more than 23,000 deaths.
As of June 20, Philippine officials have completed the COVID-19 vaccination for 2.1 million people. This vaccination progress is very slow compared to the target of the Duterte administration that this year they will vaccinate 70 million of the country’s 110 million population.