President Rodrigo Duterte has urged the Philippine public to prepare for the worst-case scenario as the threat of COVID-19 variants looms over the country. 

Duterte made the announcement in a taped Monday (May 17) briefing, which tackled the danger coronavirus mutations could pose to the Philippines, especially its people.

More worrying is that it could cause problems in the development of new vaccines, Duterte noted.

“We do not have a guarantee that the vaccines should forthcoming on time, na walang maraming mamamatay. And if it is more serious mutant, variant, we’ll just have to prepare for the worst,” the President warned.

Although this is the case, Duterte assured the public that the country is aiming to buy more vaccine supplies and that boosting health infrastructure will be part of the main agenda. 

“Kung medyo papalapit na at marami na tinatamaan, then we will go full blast in making everything operational,” Duterte said. 

“With the advent of the new variants it is good to prepare for a more serious attack,” he added.

The Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed 12 cases of the double-mutant variant of COVID in the Philippines, which originated from India. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the variant – known as B.1.617 – is of global concern and has been shown to be transmitted more easily.

Other variants that have been confirmed in the country include – the South African, the UK, and the homegrown P.3 variant.

As of May 17, the Philippines has recorded 1.14 million cases of the virus, 54,235 of which are currently active. 

The country is in the second month of its vaccine rollout. So far, 675,799 Filipinos have been fully vaccinated from COVID-19. 

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Image credit: Veejay Villafranca / Bloomberg via Getty Images