MANILA — Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said on Thursday he tested positive for COVID-19, over 3 months after he first disclosed that he caught the respiratory disease.
Lopez told ABS-CBN News he received his positive test result for the novel coronavirus on Thursday morning and that he was asymptomatic.
He said he hoped this was a false positive and that he would take another test.
"[I have] been wearing mask shield and distancing outside home but still got hit... [I] have immediately started isolation now," he said in a text message.
Lopez added he would continue to avoid physical meetings and would set virtual appointments instead.
In December, Lopez first disclosed that he caught COVID-19 and that he had no interaction at that time with President Rodrigo Duterte.
Earlier this week, Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque said he tested positive for the novel coronavirus, too.
Three other members of the Duterte Cabinet have recovered from the respiratory disease, including Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, Education Secretary Leonor Briones, and Public Works Secretary Mark Villar.
The Philippines is battling a surge in coronavirus infections, tallying over 4,000 new cases for the sixth straight day on Wednesday.
Among the hardest hit in Asia by the pandemic, the Philippines aims to vaccinate up to 70 million people or two-thirds of its population this year against COVID-19.