MANILA, Philippines, March 12 ------ President Rodrigo Duterte will be tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) after some Cabinet members announced that they will undergo self-quarantine due to contact with infected individuals. Duterte’s former aide and now Senator Christopher “Bong” Go confirmed this to reporters in a text message. “Pa-test kami ni PRRD (President Duterte) tomorrow (We will submit ourselves for test tomorrow),” Go said.
In a statement, Go explained that they will undergo COVID-19 testing to ensure that they are “fit and healthy” to engage the public and perform their duties. “Considering that some Cabinet members we engage with regularly have been exposed to individuals who were tested positive of COVID-19 and have decided to undergo self-quarantine, it is just prudent for us to take precautionary measures in compliance with the advice of our health officials,” Go said.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade separately announced on Wednesday night that they will undergo self-quarantine after interacting with coronavirus-positive individuals. The Presidential Security Group announced that Malacañang will be temporarily closed on Thursday for disinfection. To date, the Philippines has 49 confirmed cases of COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus that first emerged in China’s city of Wuhan in Hubei province in late 2019.
The virus causes mild symptoms such as fever and cough for most people but can cause serious illness such as pneumonia for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems. In a meeting in Malacañang, Go said Duterte also directed the Department of Trade and Industry, Philippine National Police, and the National Bureau of Investigation “to monitor the price of face masks and alcohol and to prevent hoarding of which.”