Bato tests positive for COVID-19
Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa said he decided to have a swab test for COVID-19 after he had fever and colds the day before. He was informed of the positive result on Friday night.
The Star/Mong Pintolo, file
Bato tests positive for COVID-19
Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - November 22, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday night, the fifth member of the Senate to get infected with the virus.

Dela Rosa said he decided to have a swab test for COVID-19 after he had fever and colds the day before. He was informed of the positive result on Friday night.

Aide from him, Dela Rosa said four other members of his household, including his eldest daughter, driver and a househelp, tested positive for COVID-19.

“I had a fever the other night so I took the test yesterday and the result came out at 9 p.m. last night – I was positive. So far I have not had a fever again, I only have a cough sometimes,” said Dela Rosa in a text message.

“To all who made contact with me, please do the appropriate protocols,” the senator said in a Facebook post yesterday.

Dela Rosa was the fifth senator infected with the virus, the first four were Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Sens. Sonny Angara, Koko Pimentel and Bong Revilla.

Dela Rosa was physically present on Wednesday at the session hall in the Senate building and attended the hybrid interpellations of the P4.5-trillion 2021 national budget.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said all senators and Senate staff who had contact with Dela Rosa had their swab tests on Friday night.

“(On Friday night) when we found out, of course, some (of the senators, staff, secretariat) were nervous. But first, we checked on the CCTV (closed circuit television camera) to check who had contact. Sen. Zubiri, who himself had COVID, immediately called for a doctor for swab tests for everyone. So we checked immediately even if it was already dawn, about 12:30 a.m. Thank God everyone is negative because Sen. Bato was careful. He even wears a face mask and a face shield,” said Sotto in an interview over dwIZ.

Sotto expressed belief that Dela Rosa’s stamina and immune system just weakened because the day before he and his son rode their bicycles under the hot sun and then it rained.

He said the senators, staff and other Senate employees had rapid antigen tests and everyone tested negative.

Zubiri echoed Sotto’s statement that other senators, their staff and other Senate employees all tested negative despite being exposed to Dela Rosa during the budget hearing on Wednesday.

He admitted that they initially panicked upon learning that Dela Rosa tested positive for COVID-19.

“He (dela Rosa) sent us text messages through our Viber group that he was positive. On Wednesday, we met him at the budget hearing of TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Administration) and various agencies. We were with him so there was a little panic. We talked about the protocol on what to do and we called a doctor with antigen kits, which you will know the result within 30 minutes.” Zubiri said.

“Thankfully, no one is positive, everyone is negative. But the advice for all those concerned is to quarantine until Sunday. Because the incubation is about five days when there is exposure. The advice is not to leave the house until Sunday. If there are no symptoms, we are OK, though initially most of us could not sleep,” Zubiri added.

Zubiri, who was afflicted with the virus twice in March, said he knew how it felt to have COVID-19.

The senator said he and Dela Rosa talked face-to-face and even had fist bumps last Wednesday. He, however, said he always has alcohol on his desk.

He said Sotto was also worried if he will have to go home since his wife actress Helen Gamboa-Sotto is immunocompromised.

Zubiri noted that Sotto told them he would just stay in their guest room until Sunday.

Meanwhile, Sen. Richard Gordon, who is also chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, advised those who were exposed to persons with COVID-19 to undergo quarantine until Monday to see if they would manifest symptoms.

“If one of us got exposed to one of our colleagues, the incubation period is five days. So, we have to stay put in the five days and if we get the symptoms we immediately do something about it,” said Gordon.

RONALD “BATO” DELA ROSA
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