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COVID-19 Cases Surge in the Philippines as Duterte Appears in Public for First Time in Two Weeks

HeadlineApr 13, 2021

In the Philippines, far-right President Rodrigo Duterte made his first public appearance in nearly two weeks Monday, seeking to end speculation about whether he’d fallen ill from a coronavirus infection.

President Rodrigo Duterte: “If you want me to die early, you must pray harder.”

Duterte said he would “waive” his chance to get a COVID-19 vaccine, outraging public health officials who’ve called on him to be vaccinated in public in order to combat vaccine hesitancy. This week, Duterte’s administration relaxed sweeping lockdown measures for the capital Manila and surrounding regions, despite a record surge in infections that’s threatening to overwhelm hospitals. The Philippines is now the worst-affected country in Southeast Asia. Just over a million Philippines residents have received a COVID-19 vaccination, a tiny fraction of the nation’s 110 million people.

Meanwhile, England has begun reopening pubs, gyms and restaurants after months of lockdown. COVID-19 cases in the U.K. have plummeted due to one of the world’s fastest mass vaccination programs, with some 40 million doses administered.

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