Duque agrees with Makati Med: Pimentel breached quarantine protocols

Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - March 26, 2020 - 6:14pm

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 9:01 p.m.) — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III agreed with Makati Medical Center that Sen. Koko Pimentel breached quarantine protocol when he went to the hospital on Tuesday.

During Thursday’s virtual presser of the Department of Health, Duque expressed the department’s stand on Pimentel’s trip to MMC despite being a Patient Under Monitoring.

“We agree that there was breach of quarantine protocol and this should not have happened," he said in Filipino.

READ: Pimentel violated hospital protocols vs infection — Makati Medical Center

Pimentel is currently in hot water for breaching home quarantine protocols after he took a COVID-19 test and felt symptoms such as body pains and flu on March 14.

According to DOH’s algorithm posted March 10, PUMs are “asymptomatic patients with appropriate exposure history" and should undergo home quarantine for 14 days.

But Pimentel went to S&R Membership Shopping Center branch in Bonifacio Global City on March 16 and to MMC on March 24. He announced he is positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.

Duque said the DOH “will follow the lead of agencies tasked to preserve peace and order and those handling violations on quarantine protocol.”

“We will fully cooperate with the action of these agencies,” he said in Filipino.

Lawyer Rico Quicho said they are readying a complaint to be filed against Pimentel.

Makati Medical Center in a statement on Thursday thanked the public for its support to the hospital and its healthcare professionals in denouncing Pimentel's breach of quarantine protocols.

It also thanked the Philippine Medical Association and the Philippine College of Physicians for their support and said that it is pleased that Health Secretary Franciso Duque III concurred that Pimentel's visit to the hospital while waiting for the results of his COVID-19 test was a breach of protocol."

The hospital also said that it takes note of Pimentel's apology for the breach. 

MMC medical director and interim co-CEO Saturnino Javier, MD urged the hospital community to move forward and "focus our energis, skills and passion once again toward conquering the virulent pathogen confronting us—COVID 19."

RELATED: DOJ: No arrest, no action on Pimentel's breach of hospital protocol sans complaint

Duque denies calling MMC

Duque also denied that he intervened to have Sen. Koko Pimentel III’s wife be accommodated at the MMC. 

Social media posts alleged that Pimentel called up Duque when the Makati hospital denied to admit the senator and his wife who was due to give birth.

“This is bereft of truth. I did not call MMC to ask that they accept Pimentel’s wife,” Duque said in Filipino during DOH's virtual presser Thursday.

Dr. Javier also denied that Duque called MMC management.

In an earlier interview with GMA News TV’s Dobol B, Javier was quoted as saying in Filipino: “We did not have that kind of conversation. We have not spoken. There was no phone call of such kind.”

PUIs and PUMs should stay at home

Duque also reiterated that those considered as Persons Under Investigation and Persons Under Monitoring should stay at home.

Luzon has been under enhanced community quarantine since March 17.

“I repeat, I am calling on everyone. It is critical that all of us, especially those PUIs and PUMs to remain in their homes so our enhanced community quarantine will be successful and we lessen the number of COVID-19 positive cases,” he said in Filipino.

On March 11, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian first announced that he would undergo self-quarantine after a resource speaker at a Senate hearing tested positive for COVID-19. Other senators followed suit.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri announced March 16 that he tested positive.

The Philippines on Thursday reported 71 new infections, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country to 707.

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