Duterte tells Filipinos to clean masks with petrol

PHOTO: Southeast Asia Globe

Stressing that his advice is not a joke, bombastic Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday told his people to use petrol as a disinfectant for protective facemasks. The outspoken leader made a similar remark last week which his spokesman said was a joke, reminding the public that Duterte often says things in jest. But in a televised address yesterday, Duterte declared:

“What I said is true. Just go to the gasoline station, and then have some drops, that’s disinfectant. I am not joking. That is true. You think I am just kidding.”

The Philippines has confirmed nearly more than 93,000 coronavirus infections and over 2,000 deaths. It reported Southeast Asia’s biggest daily jump in cases for a second straight day yesterday. Duterte has extended restrictions to quell the virus’s spread and promised “normality” will return by December. Medical experts say his mask cleaning tips are “not recommended”. The president of the Philippine Medical Association, told Asia One:

“You cannot use gasoline as disinfectant. Inhaling it may cause harm and could lead to more problems like respiratory disease,”

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Health experts recommend soap and water for cleaning reusable cloth masks, and 70% ethyl or isopropyl alcohol for proper disinfection.

The first time Duterte suggested using gasoline on masks, opponents blasted him, calling his comments dangerous advice. Senator Risa Hontiveros tweeted:

“DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME. FACT CHECK: Gasoline and diesel should not be used in disinfecting.”

In a Cabinet meeting that aired on national television earlier in the week, Duterte told ministers:

“We have to ask our police to be more strict. They will be arrested. Catch them. A little shame or put them on notice forever.”

“Who wants to be arrested? But if you are brought to the police station and detained there, that would give you a lesson for all time. I have no qualms in arresting people who are not wearing masks. You are transmitting the virus, you are a carrier.”

Duterte, who is not a doctor, says people must wear masks at least twice and disinfect “with alcohol or Lysol” between uses. He also advised people to wash their hands with gasoline.

“That virus will die, true. If you want to disinfect, look for gasoline and soak your hands, just don’t do it inside your house”

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times | asiaone

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