Philippines reports 2,833 new COVID-19 cases, Duterte calls for multilateralism against pandemic

MANILA (XINHUA) – The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines surged to 294,591 after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 2,833 new daily cases yesterday.

The DOH said that the number of recoveries also rose to 231,373 after 765 more patients have recovered.

The DOH added that 44 more patients have died, bringing the death toll to 5,091.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday stressed the need for countries to unite to defeat COVID-19, urging nations to reject unilateralism to strengthen the United Nations (UN).

“To defeat the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges, we must work with seamless unity which demands complete mutual trust and the conviction that we will win or lose together,” Duterte said in a speech during the 75th session of the UN General Assembly.

Philippines President Duterte speaks in a pre-recorded message for the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly. PHOTO: AP

“We cannot bring back the dead but we can spare the living; and we can build back better, healthier, and more prosperous and just societies. To this end, we re-dedicate ourselves to multilateralism.

The UN remains humanity’s essential organisation. But it is only as effective as we make it,” he added.

Considering COVID-19 as the biggest test the world and the UN faced since World War II, Duterte said the world is at a crossroads, adding that how nations address the pandemic will define their future.

Although every nation has its strategy in fighting the pandemic, Duterte said there must be globally coordinated efforts to pursue a common purpose.

The Philippines values the role that the UN plays in its fight against the pandemic, he added.

As the world races to find a safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19, he said all nations, rich and poor, must have equal access to vaccines.

“When the world finds that vaccine, access to it must not be denied nor withheld. It should be made available to all, rich and poor nations alike, as a matter of policy,” Duterte said.

At the same time, Duterte called for a global health agenda that will give the World Health Organization (WHO) enough policy space and resources.

“We need a WHO that is quick to coordinate and quicker to respond. The Philippines will do its part in the pooling of global resources. Our health workers are among the best,” he said.