Persons not tested for COVID-19 barred from close contact with Duterte

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 16 2020 12:51 PM | Updated as of Mar 16 2020 12:55 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte arrives at the Malacañan Palace to hold a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on March 12, 2020. Simeon Celi Jr., Presidential Photo

MANILA- Persons who have yet to be tested for the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will be barred from close contact with President Rodrigo Duterte, his official security detail announced Monday in light of the rising number of confirmed cases of the disease in the Philippines.

The Presidential Security Group said those who have yet to be tested for the disease should maintain at least a 6-feet or 2-meter distance from the President.

Only those who were tested and found negative from COVID-19 will be allowed close contact with President Duterte, the PSG added.

During public functions, the PSG said a 10-meter distance between President Duterte and the audience would be observed as a precautionary measure against the disease.

The PSG also insisted on the “strict” enforcement of the “no touch policy” on President Duterte even if the chief executive previously rejected the measure.

President Duterte last week tested negative for the disease after several of his top officials went on self-quarantine following contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19.

Cabinet officials Salvador Medialdea, Arthur Tugade, Carlos Dominguez III, and Mark Villar have all tested negative for the disease after exposure to a person who was found infected with COVID-19.

PSG last week also deployed several of its personnel to disinfect Malacañan Palace, particularly in areas frequented by President Duterte.

Temperature checks in Malacañang will continue while PSG personnel posted as guards in the Palace complex are required to wear surgical face masks.