Moreno to treat COVID-19 as 'endemic' if elected president

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 27) — If he wins the presidency, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno said he intends to consider COVID-19 as endemic, but stressed his administration would remain aggressive in responding to the coronavirus.

"Given a chance, I'll treat it as an endemic because mas maraming namamatay sa ibang sakit... dala nang hindi na nakakapunta dahil napupuno nang napupuno 'yong ating mga hospital," he told talk show host Boy Abunda when asked about his programs to combat COVID-19.

[Translation: Given a chance, I'll treat it as an endemic because more people die from other diseases since they are unable to visit hospitals as they reach full capacity.]

The presidential hopeful even mentioned that other countries like Spain have started considering COVID-19 as a "normal flu."

The mayor said his administration would "confront" COVID-19, similar to how he approached the health crisis in Manila City.

"What we have done in Manila is to really confront COVID-19, and prepare for any worst scenario. We acquire medicines, we acquire oxygen, we acquire facilities, we acquire more medical frontliners, then at the same time bukas ang ekonomiya (our economy is open)," he said.

Moreno added that vaccination efforts would be further strengthened, while also equipping the healthcare system with existing antiviral medicines.

"We must be aggressive. We can learn how to live with COVID," he said.

The aspirant also bared his plan to push for the creation of an agency that would focus on producing medicines and vaccines to boost the Philippines' capacity against future pandemics.