LIST: Gov’t officials who are COVID-19 positive, in quarantine
MANILA, Philippines — Several government officials were not exempted from the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in the country as they recently announced that they were also hit by the dreaded disease.
Included in the list of the officials who recently tested positive from COVID-19 are:
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque
Rep. Mike Defensor
Negros Oriental Rep. Jocelyn Limkaichong
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Debold Sinas
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director-General Wilkins Villanueva
The government official who most recently got infected with the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, was DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez.
Lopez on Thursday confirmed that he tested positive for COVID-19, but is asymptomatic.
This is the second time Lopez contracted COVID-19. He first contracted the disease in December last year.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, who revealed on Monday that he tested positive for coronavirus, is undergoing quarantine at an Oplan Kalinga isolation facility
Also this week, both Rep. Mike Defensor and Negros Oriental 1st District Rep. Jocelyn Limkaichong said they tested positive for COVID-19.
In a statement on March 11, PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas bared that his COVID-19 RT-PCR swab test results showed that he was positive for COVID-19.
Sinas said he is still asymptomatic and has yet to experience any symptoms.
PDEA Director-General Wilkins Villanueva likewise got the disease.
“As I was preparing for the Senate Inquiry on Monday, I took my RT-PCR at the Chinese General Hospital yesterday as part of the requirement. This morning I received the result. I TESTED POSITIVE,” Villanueva said in a social media post on Saturday.
“I will be back, isolated lang po ako. Please pray for those who were also tested positive. Sana malampasan naming lahat ito. GOD BLESS US ALL!”
(I will be back, I’m currently isolated. Please pray for those who were also tested positive. I hope we can get through this. God bless us all.)
Quarantined close contacts
Before getting a COVID-19 test on Sunday, however, Roque, along with top government officials including testing czar Vince Dizon, attended the ceremonial rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccines in Ilocos Norte on March 12.
Aside from Dizon, among Roque’s close contacts during the event were Ilocos Norte Gov. Matthew Marcos-Manotoc, Ilocos Norte Vice-governor Cecilia Araneta Marcos, Laoag Mayor Michael Marcos Keon, and Councilor Handy Lao.
Manotoc on Monday announced that he started his quarantine.
“I was clearly a close contact, and I will need to quarantine. We ask everyone who interacted with Secretary Roque to also [go into] quarantine,” Manotoc wrote on his Facebook page.
The health officials in the provinces of Negros Oriental and Ilocos Norte have already started tracing people who had close contact with Roque.
Meanwhile, Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday bared that she will be under a 14-day self-quarantine after being exposed to a COVID-19 positive individual.
“Nakaself-quarantine po ako dahil yung isang host ng isang show na nag-taping ako, para sa Women’s Month, nag-taping po kami Mar. 5, nag-test positive po siya Mar. 12,” Hontiveros disclosed to reporters in an online interview Tuesday.
(I’m on self-quarantine because one of the hosts of a show I had a taping with for Women’s Month, we had a taping on Mar. 5, the host tested positive on Mar. 12.)
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr, on the other hand, recently flew to India to secure vaccine doses from Novavax, which he said is expected to be delivered to the country by the third or fourth quarter of the year.
Gov’t offices, courts on temporary lockdown
Also affected by the recent increase of COVID-19 cases were employees of some government offices and court branches.
Among the list of government offices and courts that were ordered closed for disinfection are:
Senate (until next week)National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Central Office (March 15 to19)Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) Head Office in Pasay (March 16 to 19)GSIS Quezon City Branch Office (March 16 to 19)
Commission on Elections (Comelec) Main Office and other offices in Intramuros, Manila (March 11 to 24)
Comelec Office of the Regional Election Director of National Capital Region (NCR), Region IV-A, and Region IV-B (March 11 to 24)
Office of Civil Defense – Central (March 15 to 19)
All RTCs of Parañaque City (March 16 to 21)
Caloocan City MeTC Branch 52 (March 17 to 24)
Caloocan City MeTC Branch 51 (March 17 to 25)
All courts and offices at the Pasay City Hall of Justice (March 19)
All courts housed in the Manila City Hall, Ombudsman, and Masagan Building (March 18 to 19)
Sharp uptick in COVID-19 cases
The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday reported 4,387 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total active coronavirus cases in the country to 61,733.
Of the sum, 561,099 patients survived while 12,866 succumbed to the disease.
The country’s total COVID-19 caseload is 635,698.
The DOH began reporting over 3,000 new cases of COVID-19 again on March 5. The highest additional cases so far this year were logged on March 15 when the DOH reported 5,404 new infections.
The OCTA Research group has warned that the country’s daily COVID-19 cases may burgeon to 10,000 to 11,000 by the end of March.
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