By Charmaine Delos Santos


To curb the rising COVID-19 cases, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Thursday ordered barangay captains to look for unvaccinated people and restrain them to prevent them from going ‘around in the community’.

“I’m now giving orders to the barangay captain to look for those persons who are not vaccinated and just would request them or order them, if you may,to stay put. And if he refuses, he goes out of the house and goes around in the community or maybe wherever magpunta, he can be restrained,” Duterte said.

According to Duterte, as president, the well-being and safety of his constituents is his responsibility, thus the orders to restrain the unvaccinated.

“From around 5,400 new cases on January 4, it went to more than 17,200 by January 6. More than tripled in just two days. That is how the problem is galloping in our community, in our country, and in the world,” he added. 

The President also theorized that the surge in COVID-19 cases is due to the holidays and permissive protocols due to lowering of alert level to 2.

“It was because everybody was out and people were crowding everywhere so walang social distancing. Those were the essentials or the basic minimum of observants ng mga experts na ito 'yung mask. Lahat naman naka-mask eh. Pero ang tingin ko kung bakit, maybe contact,” he said.

Duterte then reminded the public to be considerate and not buy many medicines that are not needed because there are enough supplies for everybody, and drug companies are just asking for time to make inventory again.  

Duterte: IHU variant entry to PH, ‘unavoidable’

 “Whether we like it or not, dadating rin ito.”

This is what Duterte has to say regarding the potential entry of IHU to the Philippines, a COVID-19 variant with 46 mutations first detected in France last November 2021.
In his Talk to the People address on Thursday, Duterte said that the best medical care is what the government can offer to the Filipinos to deal with the pandemic. In addition, Duterte stated that the rising COVID-19 cases at the moment shall be dealt the same way with Delta and Omicron variants.

Meanwhile, Dr. Edsel Salvaña, a member of the Technical Advisory Group for COVID-19 and infectious disease expert, explained that IHU is not an official variant of concern or even an official variant of interest. 

“IHU is the name of an institute in France po that described this particular lineage of the virus,
and the WHO has already been monitoring this since November of last year. Ito po 'yung ano
lineage na B.1.640,” Salvaña said.

According to Salvaña, IHU exhibits neither increased infectivity nor immune evasion simultaneously, which means that the COVID-19 vaccines can still work against it. 

“WHO is monitoring it, pero hindi pa po siya VOI or VOC. It's designated as a VUM po. Actually, nanay niya 'yung designated na VUM [variant under monitoring], 'yung B.1.640,” Salvaña summarized.

As of today, the Philippines has 26,458 COVID-19 cases, bringing the tally to 2,936,875 with 102,017 active cases.