Philippines' health chief tests negative for COVID-19: official


Posted at Mar 22 2020 10:38 AM | Updated as of Mar 22 2020 12:17 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque III tested negative for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), an official of his agency said Sunday.

"Negative ang COVID-19 result for Sec. Duque. He is okay," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told ABS-CBN News in a text message.

(The COVID-19 result for Sec. Duque is negative.)

"Si Secretary Duque po ay nasa maayos na kondisyon. Siya po ay nagtatrabaho pa rin. Kakakausap pa lang po namin sa kaniya," Vergeire said later in a televised press briefing.

(Secretary Duque is in good conidtion. He is still working, we had just talked to him.)

Duque, 63, was placed on home quarantine since Wednesday after he was exposed to a coronavirus-infected patient -- also a senior health official.

He suffers from underlying conditions such as asthma and hypertension, which makes him vulnerable to the fast-spreading disease that has so far claimed 25 lives in the Philippines.

Duque earlier told radio DZMM he and his wife, also a doctor, were monitoring each other. His wife also developed coughs.

Last Tuesday, the health department confirmed that one of its directors working in its central office had contracted COVID-19.

As of Sunday, there are 380 cases of COVID-19 in the country, including 15 recoveries.