Coronavirus: Duterte gets flak from anxious Filipinos for indecisive response

The coronavirus outbreak in China has spread far and wide, reaching countries and cities in the region such as Japan, Thailand and Malaysia. The Sunday Times foreign correspondents look at how the governments and people in these areas have reacted to the crisis.

President Rodrigo Dutertes told his people not to be "hysterical" and that the coronavirus episode would pass. But the message did not sit well with an anxious population. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
President Rodrigo Dutertes told his people not to be "hysterical" and that the coronavirus episode would pass. But the message did not sit well with an anxious population. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

It took four days after the Philippines had already confirmed its first case of the virus for President Rodrigo Duterte to show up and address a nation on edge over a mysterious new coronavirus that first emerged in Wuhan, China.

When he did, he told everyone not to be "hysterical" and that it would pass.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 09, 2020, with the headline 'Duterte gets flak from anxious Filipinos for indecisive response'. Subscribe