PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is offering a P10-million reward for anyone who can develop a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said on Tuesday, April 21.
“Dahil po public enemy po itong Covid-19 hindi lang dito sa Pilipinas kundi sa buong mundo, inanunsyo po ng Pangulo na siya ay magbibigay ng pabuya na hanggang P10 milyong piso sa kahit sinong Pilipino na makakadiskubre ng vaccine laban sa Covid-19,” Roque said.
He added that the President will also provide a “substantial grant” to the University of the Philippines (UP) and UP-Philippine General Hospital (PGH) to help local scientists research on and develop a Covid-19 vaccine.
“Pinapaanunsyo rin po ng ating Presidente, na siya po ay magbibigay ng substantial grant sa UP at sa UP PGH para po makadevelop nga ng bakuna para rito sa Covid-19,” Roque said.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) said the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) is scaling down its operations until April 24 because 43 of its employees tested positive for the novel coronavirus, or Sars-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19.
“In consideration of the safety of RITM staff responding to the Covid-19 public health emergency, all are advised that the laboratory facilities shall scale down operations beginning April 16 until April 24, 2020,” DOH said.
The RITM was advised to receive specimens only from Muntinlupa, Parañaque, Las Piñas, and Pasay until the laboratory has an optimal number of staff to resume regular operations.
“The RITM shall be referring currently received specimens to activated subnational laboratories and Covid-19 partner laboratories to prevent delays in testing and releasing of results,” the agency added.
As of Tuesday, April 21, the DOH recorded 140 new cases of Covid-19, bringing the total number of infections to 6,599.
It also announced 41 new recoveries, or a total of 654, and nine additional mortalities, raising the death toll to 437. (SunStar Philippines)