Four Philippine Cabinet officials, who were earlier exposed to a person infected with coronavirus disease, have tested negative for COVID-19.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, and Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar are negative of the virus even after attending an event, along with President Rodrigo Duterte, last March 5, where a person later tested positive for COVID-19 was present.
Duterte also tested negative for the virus, which has spread to more than 100 countries since it was first detected in China late last year.
Senator Bong Go, Duterte’s former special assistant to the president, also tested negative.
As of Sunday evening, the Department of Health (DOH) reported that 140 persons in the Philippines were tested positive for COVID-19. Of this number, 11 persons have already died due to the disease.
“Matibay ang Pilipino. Tuloy ang trabaho. COVID-19 may be strong, but it will never be strong enough to bring this country, and the hearts of the Filipinos down. GOD IS GOOD,” Tugade said in a statement.
Medialdea said he will complete the quarantine period, while Tugade will “take precautionary measures seriously while working for the benefit of the country,” according to Transportation spokesperson Goddess Libiran.
Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado, who was not present at the March 5 event, also opted to go on self-quarantine following contact with Dominguez during an economic cluster development meeting of the Cabinet on March 10.
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and his chief of staff Cesar Chavez also tested negative for the virus after visiting the United Kingdom for official business, the Manila Public Information Office (PIO) said.
COVID-19 has infected some 150,000 people around the world, with more than 5,000 deaths, mostly in China, the epicenter of the outbreak.
The Philippine government placed Metro Manila under community quarantine from March 15 to April 14 to curb the spread of the virus, as most cases were recorded in the capital region.
Several cites in Metro Manila will start its curfew on Monday, March 16, scheduled everyday from 8 p.m. up to 5 a.m the following day, up until April 14, 2020, the period of community quarantine./Stacy Ang