President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to jail people who refuse to be vaccinated against the coronavirus as the Philippines battles one of Asia’s worst outbreaks, with a cumulative total of more than 1.3 million cases and 23,000 deaths, according to the Guardian.
“You choose, vaccine or I will have you jailed,” Duterte said in a televised address on Monday following reports of low turnouts at several vaccination sites in the capital Manila.
Duterte’s remarks contradict those of his health officials, who have said that while people are being urged to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, it was voluntary.
“Don’t get me wrong, there is a crisis in this country,” Duterte said. “I’m just exasperated by Filipinos not heeding the government.”
As of Sunday, Philippine authorities had fully vaccinated 2.1 million people, making slow progress towards the government’s target of up to 70 million of the country’s 110 million people.
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