MANILA – Presidential Security Group (PSG) commander Col. Jesus Durante III on Wednesday reassured those who have contracted or are suspected to be carriers of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cannot go near President Rodrigo Duterte.
“This is to guarantee that no one with the virus, not even the slightest probability, can be allowed to go on duty and can get close with the President to ensure his utmost safety,” Durante said in a statement.
On Tuesday, Durante said Duterte had no exposure to one of his security aides who tested positive for Covid-19 but already recovered.
Around 160 PSG personnel tested positive after undergoing rapid antibody tests since March.
They underwent 14-day mandatory quarantine and Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests.
RT-PCR tests are more accurate in detecting Covid-19 than the rapid tests.
To avoid sowing confusion, Durante reiterated that only one of the 160 PSG troops whose rapid tests turned out positive was confirmed to have acquired Covid-19 based on the results of the RT-PCR test.
“This lone personnel has long recovered from the virus,” Durante said.
Durante said majority of the 159 PSG personnel have already been cleared and found to be negative, based on the results of their RT-PCR tests.
“Despite negative result, they still went on strict 14-day quarantine as compliance to more stringent security and health protocols being implemented by PSG,” he said.
Durante said the use of rapid antibody diagnostic test is part of PSG’s strict enforcement of screening measures.
He said PSG troops with mild respiratory symptoms like cough, colds, and other Covid-19 related symptoms reported by the Department of Health are also required to undergo rapid tests.
Durante has repeatedly ensured that PSG is doing its best to protect Duterte and the presidential family against the coronavirus disease.
Duterte, who underwent RT-PCR test at Bahay Pagbabago in Malacañan, tested negative for Covid-19 in March.
Malacañan Palace, the official residence of Duterte in Manila, is regularly being disinfected as part of the efforts to keep the President Covid-19 free. (ia/PNA)