Duterte wants to imprison the unvaccinated as COVID rate hits record high | Rodrigo Duterte News

The Philippines’ 40 percent positivity rate – an all-time high for the third day in a row – was fueled by the Omicron variant.

The Philippines has reported at least 21,819 new COVID-19 infections, taking the country’s positivity rate to another historic high of 40% out of 70,049 tests performed, as President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the arrest of people not vaccines that will violate the stay-at-home prescriptions aimed at curbing the “galloping” cases caused by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

With the latest number of infections on Friday, the country hits a record high positivity rate for the third day in a row, while the total number of cases since the pandemic approaches three million. As of January 1, there were only 3,617 new cases reported.

The country’s 40 percent positivity rate is well above the World Health Organization’s five percent positivity threshold.

There are now 77,369 officially registered active cases in the country – the highest since October 17. Meanwhile, 129 new deaths have been reported, bringing the official death toll to 51,871, although the actual death toll may be higher.

The majority of the reported cases were from the capital, Manila, and surrounding towns and suburbs.

Health officials and independent experts have already warned that infections are expected to rise further in the coming days and peak by the end of the month.

The sudden spike in cases prompted Duterte to order the arrest of unvaccinated people who violate stay-at-home orders on Thursday, raising questions about the legality of the order.

“Because this is a national emergency, my position is that we can detain” people who have not been vaccinated, Duterte said in a pre-recorded message.

“I am now giving orders to the [village chiefs] find people who are not vaccinated and simply ask or order them, if you can, to stay put.

“And if he refuses and gets out of the house and walks around the community or maybe everywhere, he can be held back. If he refuses, the [official] is empowered to arrest recalcitrant people, ”he added.

Vaccinations against the coronavirus are voluntary in this country of 110 million people, and less than half of the population has so far completed their vaccines.

Duterte said he was “appalled” by the large number of Filipinos who had not yet been vaccinated.

“If you don’t get the hit you are putting everyone at risk,” he said, as the virus “gallops through our community, our country and the world.”

Duterte had previously threatened to arrest those who violated the country’s lockdown measures and warned those who refused to be vaccinated that they would go to jail amid the Delta variant last year.

The government eased lockdowns in October last year, after the peak in coronavirus infections caused by the Delta variant, in an effort to revive the struggling economy.

New infections fell to a few hundred a day just before Christmas, but escalated again as families and friends gathered for the holidays.

Health experts say the new cases are due to the highly transmissible variant Omicron.

Under new, more stringent restrictions, in effect until mid-January, unvaccinated residents are required to stay home unless purchasing essentials or exercising.

Restaurants, parks, churches and beauty salons will operate at a lower capacity, while in-person classes and contact sports will be suspended.

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