(Eagle News) – Health Secretary Francisco Duque III agrees that there was a breach in quarantine protocols when Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III went to the Makati Medical Center when he knew that he was a person under monitoring (PUM) for COVID-19.
“Kami po ay sumasang-ayon na nagkaroon ng breach sa quarantine protocols at hindi dapat nangyari ito,” Duque said in a virtual press briefing on Thursday, March 26.
He said that this was the stand of the whole DOH.
Duque said that all should follow the quarantine protocols as well as other regulations being implemented by lead agencies enforcing peace and order
The DOH said that violations on quarantine protocols have penalties that would be followed.
“Ganap tayong makikipagtulungan sa mga aksyon na tatahakin ng mga agencies na ito,” Duque said.
-No VIP treatment-
The health secretary also stressed that the DOH is not giving any VIP treatment to anyone on COVID-19 testing.
Duque reminded all laboratories doing COVID-19 testing to implement the “first in first out” policy for specimen testing.
“Nais ko rin pong iparating na hindi po tayo nagbibgay ng VIP treatment sa pag-test ng COVID-19. Atin pong pinapa-alala sa mga laboratoryo na sundin ang ‘first in first out policy’ sa pag-proseso ng mga specimen,” he said.
He said that they are also speeding up the expansion of testing centers so that these additional centers could address the backlog of COVID-19 tests at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).
Duque also belied rumors that he had tried to call up the Makati Medical Center to try to help Pimentel whose wife was about to give birth via caesarian delivery.
“Ito po ay walang katotohanan. Hindi po ako tumawag sa Makati Medical Center para po makiusap na kanilang tanggapin sa kanilang hospital ang asawa ni Senator Koko Pimentel,” the DOH chief said during the virtual presser.
He insisted that all persons under monitoring and persons under investigation should stay at home and not violate this protocol.
Pimentel had earlier admitted that he first experienced symptoms, including body pains, on March 14. On March 18, he had fever of up to 38 degrees Celsius, sore throat and cough. He also said that he had been having diarrhea. Two days later, on March 20, he had himself tested for coronavirus.
The senator claimed that only learned that he was COVID-19 positive on the night of March 24 after he was already inside the Makati Medical Center together with his wife.
(Eagle News Service)