Duque on self-quarantine
(The Philippine Star) - March 20, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Health Secretary Francisco Duque is on self-quarantine.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the 63-year-old health chief is considered a person under monitoring since he has no symptoms of the infection.

“He was tested for COVID because he is asthmatic and hypertensive,” Vergeire said.

Duque assured the public that he continues to function as health secretary and concurrent head of the Interagency Task Force for Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

“I’m working from home and continue to give orders for the entire DOH (Department of Health), which connects to the interagency task force,” he said.

Duque said he is not experiencing any symptom of the infection. He said the result is expected to come out in a few days.

He said he is not aware of the actual number, but there are several DOH personnel under quarantine after contact with an infected DOH official.

The DOH said close contact means a person interacted, cared for or was in the same household with a COVID-19 patient.

“As long as you are not in close proximity, at least two meters distance, you are not considered a close contact,” the DOH said.

The DOH disinfected its offices and advised those who had close contact with the infected DOH official to undergo self-quarantine.

No confirmatory test for Zubiri

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said he would no longer undergo another test to confirm the previous result.

“That may not be necessary at all. With all due respect to our dear secretary, I feel that the remaining available testing kits should be utilized by those who need them the most, like frontline medical personnel and symptomatic patients, especially the elderly,” Zubiri said.

“I feel that the first and only test  had was accurate as I remembered that I had a slight fever Wednesday last week and was asymptomatic already by Monday after,” he said.

Zubiri said he would just continue his quarantine for another eight days to complete the protocol.

He thanked his colleagues in the Senate, his family and friends for praying for his immediate recovery.

No preferential treatment

Duque clarified that Zubiri was tested for COVID-19 because he had been exposed to an infected person and was reportedly manifesting symptoms at the time.

He said President Duterte was also tested because he is at risk of getting the infection considering his age and pre-existing medical condition. – With Christina Mendez, Cecille Suerte Felipe

FRANCISCO DUQUE MARIA ROSARIO VERGEIRE
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