Escort home unvaccinated COVID-19 'spreaders,' Duterte orders authorities

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 29) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday told unvaccinated individuals to avoid going out, directing local authorities to escort the "spreaders" back to their homes. He also said the unused vaccination slots should be given instead to those who are eager to be inoculated.

In a speech past midnight, the chief executive said those who refuse to get vaccinated should not be tolerated. He said they should be contained in their homes to stop the spread of COVID-19.

"Walang katapusan ito kung pagbigyan ko lang kayo. ‘Pag mahina ang loob ko dahil mag-iyak-iyak kayo diyan, eh ibang istorya ito, adre. Bayan itong pinag-uusapan natin kaya kung ayaw ninyong makatulong by having the vaccines, eh ‘di huwag na lang kayong lumabas ng bahay," he said in a taped address.

[Translation: This will not end if I let you do what you want, don't go crying about it. We are talking about our nation. If you do not want to help by getting vaccinated, then don't go out of your house.]

A vaccinated person, although protected against severe COVID-19, can still spread the virus.

Duterte said barangay captains can give warnings to those unvaccinated who are roaming the streets. If they refuse to go home, they should be escorted back. He said he will take responsibility for his order despite the fact that there is currently no law prohibiting the movement of unvaccinated individuals.

"Kung may idemanda, ako na. Iyan ang utos ko, ibalik ka doon sa bahay mo. Harapin ko 'yan. I assume full responsibility for that," he added.

He said there should be a law prohibiting the movement of those who refuse to get vaccinated since they are endangering others, especially since some people are getting impatient waiting for their vaccines.

"Iyong ayaw, huwag na, huwag mo nang hintayin [Don't wait for those who don't want it]. Let's give it to the people who want it," he said.

However, many Filipinos who are part of the A4 or economic frontliners are still waiting for their vaccination appointment. There are also instances where some local governments have to pause their inoculation drive for lack of supply.

The government is prioritizing vulnerable sectors in the national vaccination program by simultaneously vaccinating healthcare workers, elderlies, people with comorbidities, and economic workers. Those outside of these categories have to wait for their turn.

The country has received over 32 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, the biggest chunk of which are Sinovac shots. Over 11 million Filipinos have received their first dose, while 6.8 million individuals are now fully vaccinated.