Philippines’ President Threatens Those Who Refuse the COVID-19 Vaccine with Jail

Duterte, who has been criticised for his tough approach to containing the virus, also stood by his decision not to let schools reopen.

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President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday threatened to jail people who refuse to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The Philippines battles one of Asia’s worst outbreaks, with over 1.3 million cases and more than 23,000 deaths.

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“You choose, vaccine or I will have you jailed,” Duterte said in a televised address following reports of low turnouts at several vaccination sites in the capital Manila.

“Don’t get me wrong, there is a crisis in this country,” Duterte said. “I’m just exasperated by Filipinos not heeding the government.”

Duterte’s remarks contradict those of his health officials who have said that while people are urged to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, it was voluntary.

As of June 20, Philippine authorities had fully vaccinated 2.1 million people, making slow progress towards the government’s target to immunise up to 70 million people this year in a country of 110 million.

Duterte, who has been criticised for his tough approach to containing the virus, also stood by his decision not to let schools reopen.

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