(Eagle News) — Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Friday, March 27, that he would be on self-quarantine after the country’s armed forces chief of staff tested positive for coronavirus.
Lorenzana said that he was informed by Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Gen. Felimon Santos Jr., himself that he already tested positive for COVID-19.
“I shall be on self-quarantine effective today. This morning I was informed by CSAFP Gen Santos that he tested positive of the COVID19 – the result he got yesterday,” the defense chief said in a statement.
Lorenzana said that he had “close proximity” with Santos on at least two occasions.
The first was at a turn-over ceremony of medical supplies last Sunday night, March 21, at the Villamor Air Base. The second was just last Monday, March 22, at the defense department’s general headquarters, and also at the Heroes Hall in Malacanang.
“I have no symptoms but protocol says I have to self-quarantine for 14 days,” he said.
Also present during the March 21 turn-over of medical supplies from China at Villamor Airbase were Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, Presidential Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., former special assistant to President Duterte and now Senate Committee on Health chairperson Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go.
The officials checked the thousands of aid packages donated by the People’s Republic of China to help the Philippines combat coronavirus. The donation included assorted medical supplies, personal protective equipment, and testing kits for coronavirus.
Senator Go and the other officials had also met with President Rodrigo Duterte in various occasions later in relations to the COVID-19 crisis.
Both Go and Año are already in self-quarantine following the admission of ACTS-CIS party-list Rep. Eric Yap that he had tested positive for coronavirus. Yap had attended a meeting in Malacanang on the passage of a bill that was later signed into law by President Duterte, the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act” which gives additional powers to the president to address the COVID-19 crisis.
Galvez was recently appointed as the “chief implementer” of the Philippines’ national action plan against COVID-19
Gen. Santos is the first top military official to test positive for COVID-19.
As of Thursday 4 p.m., March 26, the country has a total of 707 confirmed coronavirus cases, and the health department warned that it would rise as more tests are done nationwide.
(with a report from Mar Gabriel, Eagle News Service)