SONA 2021 protesters, police advised to follow immediate quarantine if COVID-19 symptoms occur

July 26, 2021 - 5:24 PM
SONA 2021 protesters
Hours before the last State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Duterte, activists and other militant groups march from UP Diliman to Commonwealth Avenue on July 26, 2021. Members of the police have also been deployed in the city. (The STAR/Russell Palma)

As Filipinos mobilize on the streets in light of President Rodrigo Duterte‘s last State of the Nation Address, the health department reminded participants to observe themselves should they experience any COVID-19 symptoms after attending rallies.

Activists, members of progressive groups and other critics took it to the streets to air their grievances against the government’s questionable policies and failures in a protest rally with the theme “#WakaSONA.”

The hashtag is a call for an end of Duterte’s SONA deliveries and his presidency.

Some of the groups participating in the protest rally include the church groups, Concerned Artists of the Philippines, human rights group Karapatan, People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty and the League of Filipino Students, to name a few.

READ: Church groups renew calls to defend people’s rights, end impunity

Artworks depicting large versions of the “Tumindig” avatar, a raised fist that recently went viral as a symbolize of resistance, also dominated the streets as critics hold the chief executive accountable in his last address.

In light of the protests, the Department of Health called for the public to continuously observe physical distancing protocols and wear their face masks and face shields, especially amid the threat of the highly transmissible Delta variant.

The agency also discouraged those who are experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19 to refrain from crowding.

It reminded protesters and other people on the ground such as police officers to watch out for symptoms such as fever, cough, fatigue, loss of taste and smell, runny nose, diarrhea and sore throat, among others.

“Agad na mag-quarantine at makipag-ugnayan sa iyong BHERT o sa One COVID Referral Center kung sakaling magkaroon ng sintomas,” the DOH said.

It also reminded the individual to temporarily refrain from interacting with the elderly and other vulnerable people in their house if they develop symptoms.

The country has a total of 1,555,396 COVID-19 cases. Of which, 55,140 are active cases.

Deaths stand at 27,247 while those who have recovered are at 1,473,009.

Last week, the DOH confirmed that there is a local transmission of the Delta variant which is driving the surge in Philippines’ neighboring countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia.

READ: Philippines tightens curbs after detecting first local cases of Delta variant

The World Health Organization dubs it as the “fittest and fastest” variant due to its ability to infect people at staggering rates.

It is  40% and 60% more transmissible than the already highly infectious Alpha variant, which is more infectious than the original strain in China.