Senate tightens protocols after Lorenzana tests positive for COVID-19
MANILA, Philippines — Stricter protocols are now in place in the Senate after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana tested positive for COVID-19 following deliberations on the proposed budget of the Department of National Defense (DND).
In an advisory addressed to all Senate officers and employees Wednesday, Senate President Vicente Sotto III instructed that all guests, visitors, and resource persons entering the Senate premises present a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR result or a negative antigen test result valid for 24 hours from specimen collection.
Aside from this, they are required to present their vaccination cards, as well as a medical certificate indicating being negative for COVID-19 symptoms. Those entering the Senate premises have to be fully vaccinated as well, the advisory noted.
“The Health Protocol requirement should be submitted to the medical staff on duty of the day of their visit. Likewise, the names of the visitors, guests, and resource persons must be submitted to the Sergeant-at-Arms at least one day before their scheduled appearance,” the advisory noted.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said that due to the incident, all the budget deliberations scheduled on Thursday are canceled, with the debates resuming on Monday, November 22.
“This incident will allow us to review the existing protocols as a similar incident happened during the budget hearings last year when Sec. Lapeña of TESDA tested positive after the defense of his budget which also exposed Senator Bato Dela Rosa who eventually tested positive shortly after,” Zubiri said.
“We are hoping for the kind understanding of the remaining Departments that are waiting for the defense of their budgets today. Your health and safety are our utmost priority and we apologize for any inconvenience that these delays may bring,” he added.
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