Should Duterte be tested again for COVID-19? Health official weighs in

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 20 2020 01:58 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte presides over a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Malacañang Palace on March 16, 2020. Ace Morandante, Presidential Photo

MANILA - The possible retesting of President Rodrigo Duterte for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) will depend on test results of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, who the chief executive came in contact with earlier this week.

Duque is on self-quarantine and waiting for test results for COVID-19. He was checked for the disease because he is asthmatic and hypertensive, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier said after a director of the Department of Health tested positive for COVID-19.

She said the President, who had already tested negative for the disease, would only be advised to take another COVID-19 test and to undergo self-quarantine if Duque's results turn out positive. 

“Kapag lumabas po ang resulta ni Secretary Duque at sakaling lumabas po na positive siya, tsaka natin bibigyan ng abiso ang ating Presidente na mag-test ulit at mag self-quarantine,” Vergeire said during a televised briefing.

(If Secretary Duque would test positive for COVID-19 that’s the time we will advise the President to take another test and go on self-quarantine.)

The health chief on Friday meanwhile said he is “okay” and continuing his work while under quarantine.

The President’s former aide, Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go on Thursday said Duterte would continue working even after he had contact with Duque.

The 74-year-old leader, who already tested negative for COVID-19 last week, will still fulfill his obligations but will be monitored by a doctor, Go told ABS-CBN News.

“Trabaho pa din siya (Duterte) pero syempre, monitored siya ng doc[tor],” Go said in a text message.

(He will still work but will be monitored by a doctor.)

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, meanwhile, said in an ANC interview Thursday night that the President is fit and healthy

Duterte met with Duque last Monday when they announced the month-long lockdown of Luzon due to the spread of the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

COVID-19 may be fatal for the elderly, the immunocompromised, and those with underlying medical conditions, but 80 percent of cases globally showed a high chance of recovery "without needing special treatment," according to the World Health Organization. 

WHO said COVID-19 symptoms include fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. 

As of Thursday, the Philippines has recorded 217 cases, with 17 deaths and 8 recoveries.