Coronavirus (870) Policymakers and health misinformation (31) Duterte: 'I'm not joking - clean masks with petrol'

31 July, 2020

Extracts from a BBC news item, and a comment from me below. Full text here:


Philippines' president Rodrigo Duterte has once again told people to disinfect their face masks with petrol - insisting he was "not joking".

He had made similar remarks last week - but officials were quick to correct him, and suggested it was a joke...

But on Friday, the president doubled down - saying "what I've said was true... go to a gasoline station".

There is no evidence that gasoline can disinfect masks; having prolonged contact with it can be harmful; and pouring flammable liquids can be a fire risk...

A daily high of 3,954 cases was recorded in the Philippines on Thursday, bringing the total number of cases to 89,374.

There have been just under 2,000 confirmed Covid-related deaths...


COMMENT (NPW): Heads of state, from the US to Brazil to the Philippines, are proving to be dangerous to public health, with total disregard for evidence-informed policymaking. To date, I have seen no credible plans on how to address this new phenomenon. Solidarity, interdisciplinary dialogue and action are urgently needed. HIFA stands ready to contribute. Does anyone have suggestions on how to evaluate and respond to the problem?

Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare In

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