Tugade, Other Cabinet Members Negative for Covid-19
A number of Cabinet members, including Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, tested negative for the coronavirus disease Covid-19.
The negative test results will allow them to continue with their appointed duties as the country stabilizes its efforts to combat the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo relayed the news in a press conference.
“We are glad to know that the two are healthy and were tested negative for Covid-19. They will continue to perform their respective duties in the service of the Filipino people,” Panelo said in a statement.
Other Cabinet members who were tested and confirmed negative for the virus include Presidential Security Group (PSG) Commander Col. Jesus Durante III and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar.
Despite testing negative, the Cabinet members have expressed that they will continue to observe preventive measures as they go about their work.
Meanwhile, Medialdea will pursue self-quarantine, according to a text message he sent to reporters.
In a separate statement, Transport Assistant Secretary Goddess Hope Libiran said that she and Tugade believe the Filipino spirit will be key to conquering the dangerous outbreak.
“Matibay ang Pilipino. Tuloy ang trabaho. Covid-19 may be strong, but it will never be strong enough to bring this country, and the hearts of the Filipinos down,” Libiran said, quoting Tugade.
Libiran herself was also tested for the disease, which came up negative.
Finance Assistant Secretary Tony Lambino also confirmed that Finance Secretary Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez III also tested negative for the virus.
President Rodrigo Duterte and his former aide, now Senator Christopher “Bong" Go, also underwent the test late last week, and yielded negative results.
“The results of the tests for Covid-10 conducted on President Rodrigo Duterte and I turned out negative. We are fit and healthy to perform our duties,” Go said.
Aside from those already mentioned, Cabinet members and government officials who are on self-quarantine are Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno, Education Secretary Leonor Briones, and Bases Conversion and Development Authority President Vince Dizon.
The main palace and other offices at Malacañang underwent cleaning and disinfection as part of precautionary measures amid the Covid-19 threat on Thursday, March 12. Work at the main Palace resumed an hour after the conduct of disinfection.
The Philippine Government has launched comprehensive measures in combating the disease, with the President announcing a month-long lockdown in the Metro. Curfews have also been enacted in certain metropolitan areas.
According to the Department of Health (DOH), as of March 16, 9:00 am, the number of Covid-19 cases in the country has reached 140, with 72 cases pending test results.
So far, there have been 12 confirmed deaths in the country related to Covid-19, with only two persons reported to have recovered from the disease.