De Lima says she will not get tested for COVID-19
MANILA, Philippines — Stressing that she has already been in “involuntary quarantine for the past (three) years,” detained Senator Leila de Lima said she will not get tested for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) unlike several of her colleagues in the Senate.
“Just to be clear. I will not join my colleagues to be tested for COVID-19. I have been relatively in involuntary quarantine for the past 3 years. With God’s grace, I remain healthy,” she said in a statement sent from the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame on Thursday.
De Lima has been detained in the PNP Custodial Center in Quezon City since February 2017 over drug-related charges which she has repeatedly denied as being “trumped-up.”
Several senators, although asymptomatic, have earlier undergone COVID-19 tests.
De Lima said the available testing kits available should be used “sparingly or judiciously and only upon the recommendation of a physician or a health professional complying with testing standards.”
“Hindi po puwedeng lahat na lang ng matataas na opisyales ay magpa-test kaliwa’t kanan kahit walang exposure at symptoms,” she said.
(We can’t have every high-ranking official tested even though they have no exposure or symptoms).
“Mas kailangan po yang limitadong testing kits sa ating mga PUI at PUM cases,” she added.
(Those who are in need of testing are our PUI and PUM cases).
“The testing kit to be used on me is better given to a symptomatic PUI (person under investigation). The ideal scenario is mass testing. That is, of course, not feasible given our very limited testing kits, so let’s prioritize the testing of PUI and PUM (person under monitoring) cases, or the symptomatic patients and those exposed to them,” De Lima added.
Last week, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said he would go into a self-quarantine after a resource person for a hearing he led last March 5 tested positive for the coronavirus disease.
Senator Nancy Binay, who attended the same hearing, also placed herself on self-quarantine.
Other senators followed suit, including Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, who on Monday night confirmed that he had tested positive for COVID-19.
Gatchalian and Binay both tested negative.
President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the entire Luzon under an enhanced community quarantine as COVID-19 cases in the country continue to rise.
The said quarantine took effect on March 17 and will be in effect until April 13.
This measure means strict home quarantine will be implemented in all households; suspension of public transportation; regulation of the provision for food and essential services; and a heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce the quarantine.
The Philippines is also under a state of calamity amid the outbreak.
There are so far 202 positive COVID-19 patients in the country, of which 17 patients have died while seven have recovered.
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