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Duterte skips weekly address given risk from virus infection

PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo R. Duterte will skip his public address this week amid a fresh surge in coronavirus infections, his spokesman said on Wednesday.

The President skipped his weekly address “in light of the rising number of active COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) cases,” presidential spokesman Herminio L. Roque, Jr. said in a statement. “The physical safety of the President remains our utmost concern.”

His public address on Wednesday night was moved to next week, he said..

The palace postponed the event after several presidential guards tested positive for the coronavirus, Senator Christopher Lawrence T. Go, Mr. Duterte’s close friend, said in a Viber group message. He added that the President was in good health.

A number of the President’s security guards got vaccinated last year using an unregistered vaccine made by China’s Sinopharm Group Co., Ltd.

Meanwhile, Davao City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio said she got a travel authority from the Interior and Local Government department so she could fly to Singapore.

She quietly flew to Singapore on Tuesday and was on a five-day leave for “personal health management.”

“All protocols for return to Davao City including RT-PCR testing and 14-day quarantine have all been pre-arranged,” she said in a statement.

The National Capital Region and nearby provinces are under a strict lockdown amid a fresh spike in coronavirus cases.

The Transportation department earlier said travelers who are not Metro Manila residents may still enter the region if they have outbound international flights from the international airport. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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