Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to supply everyone with a "miracle pill" that will kill the novel coronavirus which has killed almost 440,000 people worldwide. During a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, the 75-year-old said that the only way to eradicate the disease is through vaccination, adding that there is a medicine that will kill the virus.
"Now there’s a pill — I hope it’s true —it can, maybe, kill the virus. That’s good. When that arrives, when its already available, I will order it. I will distribute it. I will personally supervise the distribution of whatever there is…to guarantee that everybody gets a fair share of the medicine and medical care", said Duterte.
The president did not explain why he wants to be personally involved in the distribution of the vaccine, but local media say his comment is a reference to a recent scandal involving officials that embezzled money the government allocated to support local businesses and people that their lost jobs during the pandemic.
The president has repeatedly spoken about the corona vaccine in recent months. Local media reported last week that Duterte received reassurances from Chinese President Xi Jinping that Manila would be given priority status once Beijing develops a cure for the infectious disease, which was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan, in Hubei Province. In addition, Duterte reportedly agreed to a supply of affordable medicine and pharmaceutical products with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Duterte’s statements come as there has been a rise in cases in Cebu City, with authorities imposing the strictest security measures to curb the spread of the disease. The city is located on an island of the same name, which local health experts say may see 11,000 new cases by the end of this month. For comparison, more than 26, 000 people have contracted the disease across the Philippines.