Pimentel denies violating quarantine protocols on purpose
MANILA, Philippines — While admitting his presence at the Makati Medical Center unnecessarily caused “additional anguish” to frontline healthcare workers, Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III denied that he violated his self-quarantine on purpose by being at the hospital.
“I realize now that my presence in MMC unnecessarily caused additional anguish and concern to the courageous frontline health workers we all depend on. I was simply there to be with my wife during the birth of our daughter,” he said in a statement on Thursday.
Pimentel earlier admitted being with his wife at the MMC for the scheduled delivery of their daughter when he received a call from the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) confirming that he tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“I was already inside the hospital when I got the information. I immediately informed the (Ob-Gyne) doctor assisting my wife about the result and I then left the hospital premises,” the senator went on.
Pimentel said he was “not coughing and did not have a fever the short time I was in the MMC premises and was wearing face mask and gloves.”
Once news broke that Pimentel contracted the disease, netizens were quick to call him out saying he violated quarantine protocols when he accompanied his wife to the hospital despite manifesting symptoms.
Pimentel earlier said he had a fever last March 18 and experienced mild cough, slight sore throat and body aches.
MMC has denounced what it called the “irresponsible and reckless” actions of the senator for breaching infection control protocols.
The hospital also slammed Pimentel for violating the strict guidelines of social distancing, quarantine, and hygiene; thus, creating more problems for the rapidly depleting healthcare sector as the pandemic grows.
Pimentel said he already limited his movements after the last session day of Congress on March 11.
“There’s no real official count (of my 14-day quarantine) because when the official session ended March 11—we no longer had any session—I limited all my movements, so parang quarantine na rin po yun na (so that’s like a quarantine where) only essential movements (are allowed),” he said in an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel.
Nobody imposed a home quarantine upon him, Pimentel said.
“To cooperate with the enhanced community quarantine and, of course, ‘di rin naman talaga ko lumalabas pag di importante e, with or without COVID, ‘di po talaga naman ako lakwatsero. I’m a homebody, so natural po sa akin just to stay at home,” he said.
(To cooperate with the enhanced community quarantine and, of course, I don’t really go out that much if it’s not important, with or without COVID, I don’t like going out that much. I’m a homebody, it’s natural for me just to stay at home).
Nevertheless, the senator apologized anew to the private hospital.
“I would like to sincerely and profoundly apologize to the management and staff of the Makati Medical Center for this unfortunate incident,” he said.
Pimentel insisted that he did not intend to breach any protocols or “do any harm to anyone.”
“I apologize to MMC for being in their hospital in the evening of March 24, 2020 which they deemed to be a breach of their safety/containment protocols. Please tell me how I can make it up to you, just allow me in the meantime to recover,” he said.
He then asked MMC to take care of his wife and their unborn daughter who are still under the care of MMC.
“Please give focus on my wife and the two lives which are involved here, which are at stake. Hindi ko po talaga alam na may resulta na ako when I went to the hospital (I really had no idea that I my test result is out when I went to the hospital),” he said.
“I never intended to breach any protocol… I was simply there to be with my wife during the birth of our daughter,” he added.
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