Spokesman Roque tests positive for Covid

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Presidential Spokesperson Herminio "Harry" Roque Jr. listens as President Rodrigo Roa Duterte presides over a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Arcadia Active Lifestyle Center in Matina, Davao City on March 8, 2021. JOEY DALUMPINES/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

After testing negative for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) for more than 30 tests, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Monday announced that he has tested positive for the virus but said he will continue to work remotely.

“As of 11:29 this morning, my results showed I tested positive for Covid)” he said partly in Filipino in a virtual press briefing.

He urged those he has had close contact with to undergo isolation and follow minimum health standards.

Roque said he is currently asymptomatic and admitted that he was “shocked” and “surprised” to find out that he was infected with the virus in his last reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.

“It came as a surprise and as a shock that after about 35 tests, I tested positive. For me it’s almost routine. That on a Sunday afternoon preparatory to the Monday evening meeting with the President we undergo RT-PCR testing),” he said partly in Filipino.

He assured that he tested negative for Covid-19 last March 10, a day before his last interaction with President Rodrigo Duterte.

Roque was among the officials who accompanied Duterte during the inauguration of development projects at Dumaguete-Sibulan Airport on March 11.

He said he is inclined to undergo facility-based quarantine if his wife Mylah tests negative for the virus.

“I’m inclined to go to an isolation facilitybecause my wife also has comorbidity. She’s getting tested now. If she turns out also to be positive, we’ll isolate together. But if she’s negative today I intend to go to an isolation facility also because we need to walk the talk that as much as possible, we are in quarantine facility,” he added.

Roque said he will continue to discharge his function while under isolation and attend meetings via video conference.

“I don’t have a deputy spokesperson so while I don’t have any symptoms, I will proceed to discharge my functions while on isolation,” he said partly in Filipino.

Regrets not getting inoculated

He admitted that he regretted not getting inoculated with China’s Sinovac-made CoronaVac vaccine when doctors from the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) offered it to him last March 1.

“I regret not getting vaccinated at PGH. If I didn’t run out of doses, I probably wouldn’t have gotten infected,” he said partly in Filipino.

Earlier, Roque said the interim National Immunization Technical Advisory Group’s (NITAG) discouraged government officials to get inoculated until all frontline healthcare workers receive the vaccine.

“I think it was sad but we also have to follow protocols to prioritize medical front-liners,” he said.

He urged frontline healthcare workers to immediately get inoculated with available vaccine.

The government will need 3.4 million Covid-19 vaccine doses for 1.7 million medical workers in the country.

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