MANILA – A number of Cabinet members had tested negative for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), Malacañang bared on Sunday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo confirmed that Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade and Presidential Security Group (PSG) Commander, Col. Jesus Durante III tested negative for Covid-19 after their respective offices bared the news.
“We are glad to know that the two are healthy and were tested negative for Covid-19. They will continue to perform their respective duties in the service of the Filipino people,” he said in a statement.
In a text message to reporters, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said he also tested negative for Covid-19 but will pursue self-quarantine.
Finance Assistant Secretary Tony Lambino also confirmed that the test of Finance Secretary Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez III also yielded “negative” results.
In a separate statement, Transport Assistant Secretary Goddess Hope Libiran said Tugade tested negative but will continue to observe preventive measures as he resumes work.
“This is to inform everyone that the test results for Covid-19 conducted on Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade turned out negative. But in compliance to the protocols set by the Department of Health, he will take precautionary measures seriously while working for the benefit of the country,” she said.
Citing Tugade, Libiran said he was confident that the pandemic would not be able to defeat the Filipino spirit.
“Matibay ang Pilipino. Tuloy ang trabaho (Filipinos are strong. We will continue to work). Covid-19 may be strong, but it will never be strong enough to bring this country, and the hearts of the Filipinos down,” she said, quoting Tugade.
Cabinet officials were advised to undergo the test after having contact with a Covid-19 positive patient.
President Rodrigo Duterte and his former aide, now Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, also underwent the test on Thursday and yielded negative results.
“The results of the tests for Covid-10 conducted on President Rodrigo Duterte and I turned out negative. We are fit and healthy to perform our duties,” Go said.
He also assured the public that as elected officials, they will do everything they can to be of service to all Filipinos.
Aside from those already mentioned, Cabinet members and government officials who are on self-quarantine are Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno, Education Secretary Leonor Briones, Transport Assistant Secretary Goddess Hope Libiran, and Bases Conversion and Development Authority President Vince Dizon.
The main palace and other offices at Malacañang underwent cleaning and disinfection as part of precautionary measures amid the Covid-19 threat on Thursday. Work at the main Palace resumed an hour after the conduct of disinfection.
As of Saturday, the number of Covid-19 cases in the country breached 100 as the Department of Health (DOH) reported 47 new cases, bringing the total to 111.
Fatalities climbed to eight following the death of three patients, including a 54-year-old Filipino male from Lanao del Sur who had no history of travel abroad or exposure to an infected person.
Duterte has placed the entire Metro Manila on “community quarantine” or a partial lockdown from March 15 to April 14 to minimize the risk of catching or spreading the disease.
The Philippines is now under a state of public health emergency.
With more than 100 countries affected by Covid-19, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Covid-19 outbreak a “controllable” pandemic.
The coronavirus global death toll has reached almost 5,000, while the global number of cases has surpassed 132,000, according to the WHO. (PNA)