As the deadly coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) number of cases increase, Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso on Wednesday night said he would undergo self-quarantine after travelling to London, United Kingdom which has more than 400 cases.
Meanwhile, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, Senator Nancy Binay and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III have indicated their plans to self-quarantine.
Likewise, the government’s entire economic team might also have to go on self-quarantine after being exposed.
Domagoso informed city health officials during an emergency meeting about his self-quarantine following his official business trip to the United Kingdom.
Domagoso on Wednesday immediately submitted himself to testing by the Department of Health (DOH) officials under the supervision of Assistant Director Paz Corrales for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“I’m going to stay in City Hall and I will do some tests also para panatag ang lahat,” Domagoso said in a Facebook live video.
“I just submitted myself to be tested by the Department of Health,” Domagoso said.
“Prior to my arrival, I already requested the DOH for me to be tested,” Domagoso said.
Domagoso made his statement during a meeting with Vice Mayor Maria Sheilah “Honey” Lacuna-Pangan, directors of the city’s six district hospitals and the acting city health officer of Manila.
Domagoso went to London to discuss crime prevention to national security and urban regeneration to public health administration with the United Kingdom government officials.
Domagoso met with Robert Deane, director of the UK government coronavirus task force, where he discussed the spread of COVID-19.
The agenda was to develop a “cohesive, transparent and holistic” response against the virus.
According to the Department of Health (DOH) and Social Care and Public Health England, a total of 456 cases were identified in England as of March 11.
The DOH earlier recommended people who have been to areas with reported COVID-19 cases to undergo self-quarantine for 14 days.
Gatchalian and Binay revealed their plans to self-quarantine after learning that a resource person in a Senate hearing last week tested positive for COVID-19.
In a statement Wednesday night, Gatchalian said he “interacted” with a resource person who attended a March 5 hearing of the Senate committee on education, arts and culture, which he chairs.
After the person tested positive for COVID-19, Gatchalian said he decided to go into self-quarantine and instructed all his staff to do the same.
Binay said Wednesday night she was at the Senate hearing and would also go on self-isolation.
Dominguez, for his part, said that he would also self-quarantine.
Dominguez, in a message to reporters, said, “A fellow I met with Thursday and Friday last week had tested positive for COVID-19 on March 11. I have no symptoms but I am self-isolating until I get tested. You may wish to follow suit.”
It was not clear if the other officials who attended the Economic Development Cluster meeting last Tuesday at the Department of Finance building would also have to go on self-quarantine.
Among the officials at the cluster meeting were Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.
The officials later held a well attended press conference after the meeting.
Others present at the meeting were Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Francisco Dakila Jr., and Finance Undersecretaries Gil Beltran and Karl Kendrick Chua.
For her part, Senator Imee Marcos said she will do so as she had been in close contact with Senator Sherwin Gatchalian who led the said Senate inquiry on March 5.
“Yes, given na na magse-self quarantine ako at madalas kami ni Win naiiwan,” Marcos said in a message to reporters.
Senator Bong Revilla said he will also follow suit.
“Sen. Gatchalian is my seatmate in the Senate. Maliban sa session noong Monday, magkasama rin kami sa aking opisina kahapon, pati na sina Sen. Sonny Angara at Mayor Sara Duterte—na pare-pareho na ring nag-self quarantine,” Revilla said in a separate statement.
“Bilang pag-iingat, kahit na wala akong anumang sintomas, nagdesisyon po akong mag-voluntary quarantine umpisa kagabi. We don’t want to expose others to potential risk,” Revilla added.
Senator Francis Tolentino, likewise, said he will undergo a medical check up on Thursday as he also interacted with Gatchalian.
Gatchalian, though having close contact with the COVID-19 positive resource person twice, remains asymptomatic and is scheduled to undergo a laboratory test.
Meanwhile, Senator Risa Hontiveros said she will practice social distancing.
“No, I wasn’t exposed to the COVID-19 patient, but I will practice social distancing just to be sure. I am also advising my staff to do the same,” she said.
On Wednesday night, Gatchalian and Senator Nancy Binay announced that they will take precautionary steps as they had close contact with a resource person who later turned out to be COVID-19-positive.
Senators Sonny Angara, Panfilo Lacson, and Juan Miguel Zubiri had also made public that they will undergo self-quarantine.
The Senate premises are under restricted access as disinfection measures continue.
The Philippines has so far recorded 49 COVID-19 cases as of March 11, according to the DOH.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday declared a state of public health emergency throughout the country due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases./Stacy Ang