Duterte wants to ‘shoot dead’ Omicron COVID-19 variant

MANILA (UPDATED)— President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday he wanted to “shoot dead” the newly discovered Omicron COVID-19 variant that has spread to more countries and posed very high risk of infection surges. 

“Gusto kong patayin ‘yan kaya lang hindi ko malaman kung saan ko—gusto kong barilin ‘yan buang na ‘yan,” Duterte said in a meeting with the National Task Force Against COVID-19. 

(I want to kill that but I don’t know where—I want to shoot that fool.)
 
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday no Omicron-linked deaths had yet been reported, though further research was needed to assess its potential to resist vaccines and immunity induced by previous infections. 

Anticipating increased case numbers as the variant, first reported last week, spreads, the UN agency urged its 194 member states to accelerate vaccination of high-priority groups.

“Omicron has an unprecedented number of spike mutations, some of which are concerning for their potential impact on the trajectory of the pandemic,” the WHO said.

“The overall global risk …is assessed as very high.” 

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