Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Tuesday said he would undergo self-quarantine after one of his staff members tested positive for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Lorenzana said his staff, Col. Rolly Nerona, tested positive for the disease based on the results of the swab test administered on July 10.
He added that Nerona was with him in Jolo and that the latter learned that he was Covid-19 positive upon landing there on Monday.
“He was also with me to Subic last Friday. He was not in the event with the President in Jolo yesterday (Monday) as he was in seclusion. He came back with us to Manila yesterday (clad) in PPE (personal protective equipment),” he said in a message to reporters.
Lorenzana was in Subic Bay, Zambales last Friday to lead the commissioning of the country’s first-ever missile frigate BRP Jose Rizal while he was in Jolo Monday to accompany President Rodrigo Duterte on his visit to troops in the island.
Lorenzana said passengers of both planes have been informed about this development along with other people he came in contact with while in Subic Bay so that they can have themselves tested and go on quarantine.
“I had myself swabbed this morning and will self-quarantine to await the results,” he added.
Lorenzana said he has yet to experience symptoms of the disease so far.
This is the second time the DND chief will undergo self-quarantine after coming into close contact with a Covid-19 positive person.
On March 27, Lorenzana underwent self-quarantine after having two contacts with Armed Forces of the Philippines chief-of-staff Gen. Felimon Santos Jr., who earlier tested positive for the disease.
He later tested negative of the disease on March 31 but was advised by his doctors to continue with his self-quarantine until April 6.
AFP chief, others to follow suit
Meanwhile, AFP spokesperson, Marine Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said Santos and all other officers and enlisted personnel aboard the same aircraft with Lorenzana will be on a strict, doctor-supervised quarantine.
“The CSAFP (Chief-of-Staff AFP) will be on a strict, doctor-supervised quarantine. This holds true for all the other officers and enlisted personnel on board the aircraft to and from Jolo, Sulu,” Arevalo said in a press statement.
Arevalo added that the President was on another aircraft during the trip to Jolo, Sulu.
Santos was also with Lorenzana during the commissioning ceremonies for the BRP Jose Rizal.
Asked if there are any activities of Santos that will be affected by this quarantine, he said the AFP chief’s unit visits may have to be postponed or rescheduled to a later date.
Meanwhile, all other activities like meetings and conferences can be attended by Santos, who is also chair of the Joint Chiefs virtually, Arevalo said.
“Within the period of quarantine, he shall continue to fully discharge his duties and responsibilities ably assisted by the Vice-Chair of the Joint Chiefs and the Chief of Joint Staff,” he added.
Arevalo added that disinfection of the aircraft was done and is being done every after flight mission while the pilots and the crew go on quarantine, all as a matter of standard operating procedure, whether or not there has been Covid-19 positive patient on the plane.
“Passengers undergo religious triage processes before they will be allowed to board the aircraft in the airport of embarkation and a similar process on the airport of disembarkation,” he said. (PNA)