File photo shows Sen. Aquilino 'Koko' Pimentel III.
The STAR/Geremy Pintolo, File
Pimentel becomes second senator to test positive for COVID-19
Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - March 25, 2020 - 12:10pm

MANILA, Philippines (Update 1, 12:24 p.m.) — Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III announced Wednesday that he tested positive for the new coronavirus disease—making him the second member of the upper chamber who has acquired the illness. 

“I was informed late last night March 24, 2020 that I have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The swab was taken last Friday, March 20, 2020,” Pimentel said in a statement. 

The senator said he “tried my best” to limit his movement since the last session day on March 11.

“I have quarantined myself upon the doctor’s advice and consistent with the protocol. I feel I am, with God’s help, on the way to recovery,” he said.

Pimentel also asked for prayers for his wife who is about to give birth.

“I would like to ask for your prayers, especially for my wife Kath, who is about to give birth in the next few days to our first baby girl, and with whom I cannot be at this very important point in our lives as parents,” he said. 

Last week, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri announced he tested positive for the illness.

Several government officials such as President Rodrigo Duterte and his family members, Cabinet secretaries and a number of senators were criticized for getting tested even if they were asymptomatic, a strict qualification the agency has implemented on other COVID-19 patients. 

Under the revised protocol, only persons under investigations with mild symptoms who are elderly, with underlying conditions, immunocompromised and admitted PUIs in severe and critical condition are eligible for testing. 

The Philippines has reported 552 cases of COVID-19, with the death toll rising to 35.

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