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July 29, 2021, 11:55 a.m. EDT

Duterte warns that unvaccinated Filipinos could be forced to stay in their homes

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Associated Press

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is warning that Filipinos who refuse to get vaccinated against the coronavirus will not be allowed to leave their homes as a safeguard against the more contagious delta variant.

Duterte said in televised remarks Wednesday night that there is no law mandating such a restriction but added he is ready to face lawsuits to keep people who are “throwing viruses left and right” off the streets.

The brash president adds that for people who don’t want to be vaccinated, “well, for all I care, you can die anytime.”

However, more than public hesitance, the Philippines has been grappling with vaccine shortages.

Nearly 7 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated and more than 11 million others have received their first dose. That is a fraction of the government’s target of 60 million to 70 million people.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is in the Philippines on Thursday as the final stop in a Southeast Asia tour aimed at shoring up regional alliances as tensions with China mount.

MarketWatch contributed.

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