Duterte hopes for a COVID-free Christmas

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President Rodrigo Duterte hopes for a COVID-free Christmas celebration in the Philippines as he accepted Russia’s offer for the COVID-19 vaccine supply.

“Hintay na lang kayo, kaunti na lang talaga (Just wait. It’s only a matter of time),” Duterte said in a televised addressed Monday night. “By December, sabi ko (I said), in the fullness of God’s time, we will have a, hopefully, a COVID-free December, and we can enjoy this Christmas season,” he added.

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The President said that by September of October, vaccines against the deadly virus would be slowly rolled out but would still have to undergo clinical trials.

“Dumaan na sa kanila ‘yang ano (These have already undergone)… the measures that would ensure that it is really safe. Tapos na ‘yan (It’s all done),” he said.

“Kaya lang (However), whether or not it is safe for a particular race, hindi natin malaman (we will not know) unless we go into clinical trials,” Duterte added.

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Duterte shared that President Vladimir Putin once promised him when they last met in Sochi that Russia would assist the Philippines on its medical needs.

“Sabi niya (He said), ‘If you have a medical question mark on anything about medicines or cures, feel free to call me and anyone you’d like to be confined and treated here in Russia, we will [help],’” Duterte said.

“’ Yan ang sabi (That’s what he said), ‘And we will help you develop the medicines that your country needs,” he added.

Also read: DOST official: Earliest COVID-19 vaccine possibly available by July 2021

Duterte hopes for a COVID-free Christmas

Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev’s earlier said that Russia’s anti-COVID-19 vaccine trials are showing “very promising” results.

Khovaev added that proposals for the clinical trials and the production of the vaccine in the country were already with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

Duterte said the Philippines is ready to assist Russia in its clinical trials in the country as well as its production. He also tasked Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to appoint the best person to coordinate with Russia.

“I am asking the Secretary of Health to look for the best guy to be dealing with Russia in this area – the transfer of technology of the vaccine,” he added.

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