Monkeypox is not as alarming as Covid-19, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said on Monday.
Marcos made this remark after the Department of Health (DOH) announced the Philippines’ first case of monkeypox on Friday, nearly a week after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the infectious disease a global health emergency.
“I want to be very clear to everyone: This is not covid…Hindi nakakatakot kagaya ng (It is not alarming like) Covid. Yung monkeypox parang (Monkeypox is like) smallpox. Marami namang gamot (There are medicines to cure it),” he said in an interview with reporters in Pasig City.
He said it is “unfortunate” that the monkeypox outbreak has reached the country, but noted that the 31-year-old patient has already recovered.
Marcos also reassured the public that the government is strictly monitoring the monkeypox outbreak even if the country’s first case has reportedly recovered from the viral disease.
“Nakabantay tayo ng husto pero siguro masasabi natin sa ngayon na wala tayong kaso dito sa Pilipinas sa ngayon (We are keeping an eye on this, but we can say that we do not have an active monkeypox cases in the Philippines now),” he added.
On Friday, the DOH announced that a 31-year-old Filipino who returned to the country from an overseas trip last July 19 tested positive for monkeypox.
The department said they have identified 10 close contacts of the patient, of which three were from the same household.
All have been advised to quarantine and are being monitored by the department.
It assured that the country is also prepared to combat a potential monkeypox outbreak in the country.
Marcos also enjoined the public to continue to avoid close contact with people who are sick or have a rash and practice frequent hand washing.
“Kagaya ng lahat ng sakit, kailangan malinis ang mga kamay natin. Medyo mag-ingat lang tayo sa sanitation, yung mga bagay bagay na ganyan (Just like in any illness, we need to keep our hands clean. Let us be careful with sanitation and other stuff like that),” he said.
On July 23, the WHO declared the monkeypox outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern” after around 70 countries where the viral disease is not endemic have reported outbreaks.
The monkeypox virus is transmitted from one person to another by close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets, and contaminated materials such as bedding, according to the WHO.
Monkeypox typically presents clinically with fever, rash, and swollen lymph nodes and may lead to a range of medical complications.
Vaccines used during the smallpox eradication program also provided protection against monkeypox. (PNA)