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Duterte to ask for China’s help if COVID-19 situation worsens

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said he will seek the assistance of China if the coronavirus outbreak in the country worsens.

Addressing the nation from Malacañang, Duterte said he received a letter from Chinese President Xi Jinping assuring him of China’s readiness to help the Philippines’ fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

“All we have to do is to ask. Ako ang tingin ko, maybe there will be a time, if things deteriorate, that I have to call on China to help," Duterte said, adding Xi related how his government tackled the health emergency.

"To the Chinese government, to the people, especially to President Xi Jinping, thank you for the consoling words and maybe, I hope that it would not reach to that point but maybe we will need your help.”

China has made major strides in its battle against the virus, prompting Xi to visit Wuhan, the central city at the heart of the global epidemic, on Tuesday and declare that it has "basically curbed" the spread of the disease.

A day earlier, Duterte met with China’s Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian in Malacañang where they discussed continued economic cooperation and coronavirus response by the two countries.

During the call, Duterte extended sympathies to the Chinese people affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which has infected over 80,000 people including some 3,000 deaths in China, where the virus originated.

The Philippines has so far 52 confirmed cases, including five deaths, as of Thursday, according to the Department of Health. — BAP, GMA News