Duque explains ‘preferential tests’ for Duterte kin, others
MANILA, Philippines — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Wednesday appealed for patience as criticisms continued to mount over what critics said was “preferential treatment” given to government officials and their families, who were immediately tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) despite them having no symptoms of the virus, at a time when the country only has 2,000 testing kits.
Duque said the officials, including President Rodrigo Duterte and his family, were immediately tested for COVID-19 because of their exposure to a known case.
Under the Department of Health’s updated decision tool, only the elderly, those with underlying conditions and those whose ailments have progressed to severe or critical would be tested for the virus.
On Tuesday, President Duterte’s common-law wife Honeylet Avanceña and daughter Veronica, Duterte sons Davao Rep. Paolo Duterte and Davao Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte were tested for COVID-19, according to Sen. Christopher Go, who was also tested along with other senators.
Duque said some 20,000 test kits donated by South Korea and China were expected this week and another 50,000 from billionaire Jack Ma.
“Once we have adequate testing kits, we will test as many as we can. [For now], (have) a little more patience as we test as indicated,” he added.
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