MANILA – The main palace and other offices at Malacañang underwent cleaning and disinfection on Thursday as part of precautionary measures amid the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
The Presidential Security Group (PSG) disinfected the premises of Malacañan Palace to ensure that President Rodrigo Duterte is protected against Covid-19.
“PSG troopers, headed by (Lt. Col. Magno Mapalad III) of Presidential Guards and (Lt. Col. Nereo Simbahan) of PSG Station Hospital, conduct disinfection and decontamination at Malacañan Palace as a preventive measure against Covid-19,” the PSG said in a Facebook post.
The disinfection came on the same day Senator Christopher Lawrence Go announced that he and the President would undergo the test for Covid-19 after having contact with some Cabinet members who had direct exposure to people infected with the coronavirus.
In a separate statement, PSG commander Col. Jesus Durante III clarified that there will be no lockdown of Malacañan Palace.
“Our measure is more on precautionary and preventive one against Covid-19, through disinfection and decontamination, especially (in) areas frequently used by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte,” Durante said.
Work at the main Palace resumed an hour after the conduct of disinfection, he said, adding that cleaning the premises of Malacañang was meant to make Palace employees “feel at ease and safe while working.”
“This will be done (on) a scheduled basis to ensure not just the safety of our President but also all of those working behind him in the seat of our government, to continuously serve the Filipino people,” Durante said.
Meanwhile, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar also ordered the disinfection of the press working area and the press briefing area located at Malacañan’s New Executive Building.
Andanar gave the order to ensure the safety of reporters covering the activities of Duterte and other Palace officials.
His directive also came after Finance Assistant Secretary Antonio Joselito Lambino II attended a weekly economic briefing at the Palace’s press briefing room on Wednesday despite having contact with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III who had been exposed to a Covid-19 patient.
“At this point in time, when public health is at risk, we seek everyone’s understanding and cooperation in taking the necessary precautions and in following safety protocols,” Andanar said.
He also advised Palace reporters and other Palace personnel who were present during the weekly economic briefing to voluntarily go on self-isolation and seek medical attention to avert the possible spread of infection.
Andanar also floated the possibility of having virtual press briefings to ensure that the regular press conferences would not be disrupted.
The country now has 49 confirmed cases of Covid-19.
Duterte is expected to address the nation on Thursday afternoon about the drastic measures his administration is undertaking to contain the spread of Covid-19. (PNA)