Palace assures public Duterte is 'fit and healthy'


Posted at Mar 19 2020 10:05 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte is "fit and healthy," his spokesman said Thursday in what would be the first disclosure of the Philippine leader's condition after his health minister started going on quarantine due to exposure to a coronavirus patient.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, who was with Duterte last Monday night, underwent a self-quarantine beginning Wednesday because of his interaction with an official of the Department of Health who was found positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

A prior test on Duterte for the COVID-19 yielded negative results. 

"I would like to assure our countrymen that he's fit and healthy. Wala siyang sakit, wala siyang sintomas ng kahit ano," Salvador Panelo, the presidential spokesman told ANC.

(He has no sickness. He has no symptoms.)

Earlier in the day, Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go, Duterte's former aide, said the 74-year-old president will continue to work but will be monitored by a doctor.

Panelo said Duterte is expected to address the nation again in a recorded message.

According to him, the President has no recent contact with Duque after Monday's meeting, during which the entire Luzon was placed under an enhanced community quarantine to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Duterte took the test for COVID-19 after a number of his Cabinet members were exposed to a person who tested positive for the disease. Like him, the officials also tested negative. 

The Philippines so far has 217 cases of COVID-19, including 17 deaths and 8 patients who recovered.