By Arjane Faith Paala

In an attempt to pacify the panic it stirred, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. affirmed on Monday, August 1, that the monkeypox virus is not as scary as COVID-19.

Photo Courtesy of World Health Organization (WHO)/Danny Pata

The president, during his visit to a vaccination site in Pasig City, also assured the public that the government is actively monitoring the first-ever case in the country.

“Even then, I want to be very clear to everyone: This is not COVID. Hindi kagaya ng COVID ito. Hindi nakakatakot kagaya ng COVID ‘yung monkeypox. Parang smallpox, marami namang gamot. Pwede nating gamutin,” he claimed.

However, Marcos reminded that good hygiene and sanitation should still be strictly observed as a precaution against the new virus.

“Kagaya ng lahat ng sakit, kailangan malinis ang mga kamay natin. Pero sa ngayon, ‘yung monkeypox ay talagang nakabantay tayo dahil nasanay na tayo rito sa COVID. Nakabantay tayo nang husto,” he added.

The Department of Health (DOH) detected the first monkeypox case in the country on July 28—a 31-year-old Filipino who arrived from abroad on July 19.

According to the health agency, the patient had previously traveled from countries with documented monkeypox cases but is currently “recovering from home.”

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO), in light of the sudden outbreak, announced monkeypox as a “public health emergency of international concern” that needs global collaboration to allocate vaccines and treatments.

The virus can be transmitted through physical contact with an infected person or animal, especially skin-to-skin contact during sex, and contaminated materials such as beddings, WHO announced.

Edited by Nehmia Elyxa Relano