DOH Secretary Duque tests negative for COVID-19



Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has tested negative for the deadly coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), an official of the Department of Health (DOH) said on  Sunday.

“Negative ang COVID-19 result for Sec. Duque. He is okay. Lumabas na po ang kanyang resulta kagabi at ito po ay negatibo (The COVID-19 result for Secretary Duque is negative. He is okay. His test results came out last [Saturday] night and this was negative.),” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

“Si Secretary Duque po ay nasa maayos na kondisyon. Siya po ay nagtatrabaho pa rin. Kakakausap pa lang po namin sa kaniya,  (Secretary Duque is in good conidtion. He is still working, we had just talked to him.),” said Vergeire.

Duque, 63, was on home quarantine since Wednesday after he was exposed to a coronavirus-infected patient — also a senior health official.

Duque suffers from underlying conditions such as asthma and hypertension, which makes him vulnerable to the fast-spreading disease that has so far claimed 25 lives in the Philippines.

Duque earlier said he and his wife, also a doctor, were monitoring each other. His wife also developed coughs.

Last Tuesday, the health department confirmed that one of its directors working in its central office had contracted COVID-19.

Vergeire earlier said that although Duque did not exhibit any symptoms, he was tested for COVID-19 since he is asthmatic and hypertensive.

Duque earlier said that he was in close contact with the COVID-19-positive official for “about 3 times.”

“I  have no fever, so I’m pretty okay. It’s just that of course I’m watching over my hypertension and asthma,” Duque said earlier.

Being a person under monitoring (PUM), Duque was on self-quarantine. He began his self-isolation on Wednesday, March 18.

Vergeire said that Duque did not show any symptoms and continued to work from his home as cases continues to increase in the country.

“DOH assures its employees that their safety and health is a top priority. Offices have been disinfected and close contacts informed so that they can immediately undergo home quarantine and strict monitoring,” the DOH said./Stacy Ang

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