Senator Pacquiao tests negative for coronavirus after rapid test

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Senator Manny Pacquiao on Saturday said he has tested negative for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) after exposure to carriers of the virus — three other senators at the Senate —were reported positive.

In a statement, Pacquiao said he used a rapid testing kit from a friend in South Korea.

Pacquiao said he has been on self-quarantine since Monday and has no symptoms so far.

Pacquiao was considered as Person Under Monitoring (PUM) after three other senators went positive to COVID-19.

They were Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and Senator Sonny Angara.

“Huwag po kayong mag-alala. May natanggap po akong Rapid Testing Kits mula sa aking mga kaibigan sa South Korea. Gamit ang rapid test kit na approved sa Korea, ako po ay nag-negatibo. Hindi pa approved ng FDA dito pero yon po ang ginagamit sa Korea (Don’t worry. I received rapid testing kits from my friends in South Korea. Using this rapid test kit from Korea, I tested negative. This has not been approved by the FDA but it’s being used in Korea.),” Pacquiao said.

He said he had been urged to take a test at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), where other lawmakers had themselves tested, but he refused as he had no symptoms – compliant with protocol.

Pacquiao said he would undergo a swab test if he feels symptoms.

“Once I experience symptoms, I am willing to undergo the swab testing for the sake of my family and my country, but I will go through the regular procedure,” Pacquiao said.

“Matagal na po akong hinihikayat na magpa-test sa RITM ngunit nais ko pong ipaalam na wala po akong nararamdaman na anumang sintomas,” he added.

“Naniniwala po kasi ako na marami tayong Persons Under Investigation o PUI na dapat unahin pagdating sa testing,” he said.

An eight-division world boxing champion, Pacquiao said he was supposed to attend the turnover of 57,600 test kits from his friend, Chinese billionaire and Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma, to his Manny Pacquiao Foundation, but stayed home instead.

“Kahit naka-home quarantine, patuloy po akong maghahanap ng paraan upang makatulong sa ating mga kababayan, lalo na sa ating mga magigiting na frontliners. Marami pa pong test kits at medical supplies na darating na magagamit ng ating mga health workers sa buong bansa. Magkakaroon din po ng allocation ang DOH Regional Centers sa Visayas at Mindanao,” Pacquiao said.

“Hinihikayat ko ang lahat na makipagtulungan sa ating pamahalaan. Gawin po natin ang nararapat. Patuloy din po tayong magdasal at manalig sa Panginoon. Sa kanya po tayo humugot ng lakas at pag-asa. Malalampasan natin itong pagsubok, mga kababayan. Tiwala lang,” Pacquiao said.

Earlier, Pacquiao has been told by the chairman of Barangay Dasmariñas in Makati City that he and the members of his household have to stay home  after Pimentel attended a party in his house recently with other lawmakers.

“No one including any of your household can come out. If you need something, please call the barangay… We can procure things for you and send it to your doorstep,” barangay chairperson Rossana Hwang said in her letter.

He said he has been under quarantine since after attending the special session of the Senate on March 23.

How the other senators got infected remained  unclear, but the Senate earlier had to restrict access and undergo disinfection after a resource person at a March 5 committee hearing turned out to be a coronavirus patient.

Several other senators also underwent testing despite having no symptoms, drawing public criticism as the country’s supply of testing kits remains limited./Stacy Ang

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