Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday slammed President Donald Trump and Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro for their response to the coronavirus pandemic and said he would not emulate their "devil-may-care attitude."
"We cannot afford really a total epidemic or pandemonium; we are poor, we cannot afford to gamble," Duterte said during a press conference Wednesday. "We are still grappling with the first wave."
Duterte said he would be very "circumspect in reopening the economy," given the spike in coronavirus cases.
The Philippines has the second highest number of infections in Southeast Asia after Indonesia. Since the capital region reopened June 1, the country also has the fastest rise.
The coronavirus cases in the country climbed by 1,540 to 47,873 on Tuesday, including 1,309 deaths.
Finance secretary Carlos Dominguez, speaking after the broadcast at a government forum, defended the government's decision to relax restrictions and allow more businesses to operate.
"While health measures are absolutely necessary for us in fighting this pandemic, increasing economic activity in a responsible manner is a matter of national survival and priority," Dominguez said.
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