PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte will get tested for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), his former top aide and now Sen. Christopher Lawrence“Bong” Go said.
In a statement, Go said he and the President would undergo test for the viral disease after some Cabinet members and senators have gone on self-quarantine.
“President Duterte and I will undergo testing for Covid-19. We are not doing this because we have symptoms of Covid-19; We are doing this to ensure that we are fit and healthy to engage the public and perform our duties in the coming days and weeks. As always, the President and I remain ready to serve and die for the Filipino people,” Go said.
“Considering that some Cabinet members we engage with regularly have been exposed to individuals who 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 added.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade separately announced on Wednesday night that they would undergo self-quarantine after interacting with coronavirus-positive individuals.
The Presidential Security Group (PSG) announced that Malacañang would be temporarily closed for disinfection.
On Wednesday night, Duterte gave a short speech in Malacañang as he took note of the precautions to prevent the spread of the deadly disease.
“I’ve been told to – masyado naman takot itong corona na ito. They are discouraging long meetings and large congregation. Naniwala pala kayo. Sus,” Duterte said in his remarks before newly-promoted officials of the military and police.
The President has defied the “no-touch policy” set by the PSG to protect him from Covid-19.
During the event, Duterte shook hands with military and police officials, as well as their families.
Also on Wednesday night, Malacañang announced that Duterte’s scheduled trip to Boracay on Thursday was rescheduled as it monitored the Covid-19 outbreak in the country.
The Philippines has, so far, confirmed 49 cases of the disease, and Duterte has declared a state of public health emergency and suspended classes in Metro Manila this week.
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.