‘No COVID-19 outbreak in House’

Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - December 4, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — There is no outbreak of COVID-19 at the House of Representatives even if 98 people have tested positive for the disease during mass testing of over 2,000 lawmakers and personnel, an official said yesterday.

House Secretary General Mark Llandro Mendoza said there is no COVID-19 transmission in the Batasan Pambansa premises where strict safety and health protocols are being implemented.

“We conducted the mass testing to identify and isolate those with COVID-19. But we have found that those who tested positive acquired the disease outside Batasan,” Mendoza said. “Rest assured, as instructed by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, that the safety of all members and employees of the House is our priority.”

Mendoza denied reports that the virus transmission among the 98 positive individuals had originated from the House.

The mass testing of congressmen, staff and personnel held from Nov. 10 to 20 was the first in the chamber since the COVID-19 outbreak last March.

The positive cases represent nearly five percent of the total number of House members and employees who underwent reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction tests. Almost all of those who tested positive were asymptomatic.

Records showed that 93 congressmen, staff and personnel previously tested positive for COVID-19.

Mendoza said the House leadership does not see the need to shut down the Batasan Pambansa complex as cleaning and disinfection of offices and buildings are done on a daily basis.

He said other strict health protocols are in place for the safety of lawmakers, workers and visitors.

“We conduct sanitation every day. We also conduct fumigation every Friday when there’s no office in Batasan,” Mendoza pointed out.

The House has coordinated with local government units and their respective barangay health emergency response teams regarding the result of the mass testing.

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