President Rodrigo Duterte is set to undergo testing for the new coronavirus disease (Covid-19) after two of his Cabinet members said that they interacted with infected individuals.
Duterte’s former aide, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go confirmed this in a statement, saying he would also get tested despite not showing symptoms of the disease.
“President Duterte and I will undergo testing for Covid-19,” Go said in a statement late Wednesday night.
He said it was only “prudent” for them to get tested since at least two Cabinet members announced that they would go on self-quarantine.
“Considering that some Cabinet members we engage with regularly have been exposed to individuals who were tested positive of Covid-19 and have decided to undergo self-quarantine, it is just prudent for us to take precautionary measures in compliance with the advice of our health officials,” he said.
Though neither of them has shown any symptoms, he said they are only getting tested to ensure that they are both “fit and healthy” to perform their official duties.
“As always, the President and I remain ready to serve and die for the Filipino people,” he said.
Earlier, the Department of Health (DOH) bared that only those with symptoms of Covid-19 and those in close contact with infected individuals will be prioritized in being given medical attention.
Close contacts include persons with a travel history in the last 14 days to countries with the local transmission or those who have a history of exposure to patients who tested positive for Covid-19, such as those who provided direct care for a Covid-19 patient or those working together, staying in the same close environment, traveling together, or living in the same household with a Covid-19 patient within the 14-day incubation period, he said.
In separate statements, Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez and Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade announced that they would go on self-quarantine after interacting with an individual who tested positive for Covid-19.
It remains unclear if they were exposed to the same individual.
Presidential Security Group (PSG) Commander Jesus Durante III said Malacañan Palace would be closed down for disinfection, particularly areas frequented by Duterte.
Duterte’s scheduled visit to Boracay to promote local tourism on March 12 has been postponed due to the rise in the number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in the country, Panelo said.
He was also scheduled to visit the top tourist destination to distribute land certificates to beneficiaries there, he added.
As of Wednesday, the DOH confirmed 49 positive cases of Covid-19 in the country and its first Filipino fatality, a 67-year-old woman without any travel history or exposure to the disease.
The Philippines is now under a state of public health emergency after the health department reported the first known local transmission.
The Covid-19 outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China, has killed more than 4,200 people and infected over 119,000 worldwide.
It is characterized by mild symptoms including a runny nose, sore throat, cough, and fever while more severe cases can lead to pneumonia or breathing difficulties.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic which means a worldwide spread of a new disease.
In January, the WHO declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. (PNA)