MANILA – Members of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Cabinet are in “good health,” Malacañang said on Thursday amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak in the country.
“Lahat naman po sila ay mabuti ang kalusugan (All of them are in good health),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual presser aired on state-run PTV-4, when asked about the health condition of the Cabinet secretaries.
Roque’s statement came even after Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año and Education Secretary Leonor Briones had both tested positive for Covid-19.
Año and Briones are now tested negative for Covid-19 after acquiring the infectious disease.
The two Cabinet officials, however, still need to continue to observe self-isolation.
Roque said other Cabinet members remain healthy.
“Wala naman pong ibang miyembro ng Gabinete na nagkasakit ng Covid-19, bukod po kay Secretary Año (Other Cabinet members have not contracted Covid-19, except Secretary Año and Secretary Briones),” he said.
Roque on Wednesday announced that Duterte has authorized the use of Covid-19 rapid test kits for individuals who wish to see the President at Malacañan Palace in Manila.
The Philippine Security Group (PSG) Task Force Covid-19’s medical team would administer the rapid tests for the new pathogen.
PSG commander Col. Jesus Durante III said Wednesday that the procedure does not exempt high-ranking government officials, PSG troopers, and close-in personnel who always accompany Duterte.
Durante said those who will be found positive during the rapid tests will be barred from entering Malacañan Palace.
He, however, clarified that results of rapid tests are still subject to Research Institute for Tropical Medicine’s confirmation since these are not “definite and absolute.”
Real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests, which detect the actual presence of Covid-19, are currently being undertaken by the Philippines.
The PSG’s initiative to impose stricter health protocols at Malacañan was meant to protect Duterte against Covid-19, which has so far infected 5,660 people in the country. (PNA)