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DU30 eyes mass execution of monkeys

It is not that virulent and cannot cause severe illness

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Rodrigo Duterte | Dialy Tribune file photo

President Rodrigo Duterte said in jest that monkeys should be killed if monkeypox would be as fatal as Covid-19.

The Chief Executive also said he was hoping that the re-emergence of monkeypox would not kill many people while the country is still dealing with the coronavirus pandemic

“I hope (it won’t be fatal) because if that’s the case, all of the monkeys will undergo mass execution,” he said in his pre-recorded public address Monday.

Health Undersecretary Abdullah Dumama, in the same meeting, assured the President that the mortality rate of the rare viral disease is only about one percent.

“It is not that virulent and cannot cause severe illness,” Dumama said.

Monkeypox, a viral disease that looks like smallpox, was recently detected in at least 20 countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Germany.

It was first documented in animals in 1958 when two outbreaks occurred in monkeys kept for research.

Symptoms of monkeypox typically include skin lesions, fever, intense headache, muscle aches, back pain, low energy and swollen lymph nodes, which may lead to a range of medical complications.

The monkeypox virus is transmitted to humans through close contact like wounds, body fluids, respiratory droplets with an infected person or animal, or with contaminated materials, although experts say it is less transmissible than smallpox.

The health department assured the public that no case of monkeypox has been detected yet within the Philippines, but said it was “intensifying” border screening controls to prevent its spread.
The agency said it would also ensure that the country’s surveillance systems were actively monitoring the situation.

Reminder to parents

Meantime, Duterte renewed his call to parents to have their kids vaccinated against coronavirus amid the threat of a more contagious Covid-19 variant.

In his public address Monday night, Duterte warned that coronavirus has been mutating, making it more transmissible and putting more people at risk of catching the disease.

“Get your child vaccinated. I hope there will be no problem with your child. Make sure that he or she will get vaccinated and protected (from the disease),” he said.

“If you would only look at Covid-19 intensely, it had so many mutations,” Duterte added.

The health department recently detected a local case of Covid-19 subvariant Omicron BA.4, which the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control described as a “variant of concern.”

Experts said it may evade immune protection induced by prior infection or vaccination, particularly if this has waned over time.

Officials and scientists from South Africa said the country may be entering the fifth wave of Covid-19 surge in the early days of May earlier than expected because of the high number of cases believed to be driven by BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants.

Some 69 million Filipinos or 76.71 percent of the country’s eligible population have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, while 13.8 million have received their booster shots, based on government data.

To inoculate more people, the government has been conducting house-to-house jab drives in 812 municipalities across the country, while special vaccination days will be held in SOCCSKSARGEN and Bangsamoro Region in the coming weeks.

Officials are also preparing for the turnover of the government’s Covid-19 vaccination program with the incoming administration, said presidential adviser for Covid-19 response Secretary Vince Dizon.

“We have begun our transition (activities) so we can have an orderly and seamless turnover of the vaccination program,” he said.

“This is needed so we can continue our gains in recent months,” Dizon added.

MJ Blancaflor

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