Senator Pimentel tests positive for COVID-19

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 25 2020 12:09 PM | Updated as of Mar 25 2020 01:22 PM

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III on Wednesday said he has tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), as he sought prayers for his immediate recovery and for his wife who is about to give birth to their first child.

Pimentel said he took the test on March 20, 2020 and received the result Tuesday evening.

"I would like to ask for your prayers, especially for my wife Kath, who is about to give birth in the next few days to our first baby girl, and with whom I cannot be at this very important point in our lives as parents," Pimentel said in a text message to reporters.

Pimentel said he was with his wife in the hospital when he received news that he was a carrier of the disease.

"Yes [I was with her] as she was sked to give birth this morning. I received the call from RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine) when I was already in the hospital last night, hence I left immediately," he said.

"I have quarantined myself upon the doctor’s advice and consistent with the protocol... Since the last day of session March 11, 2020 I had already tried my best to limit my movement," he said.

SYMPTOMATIC SINCE MARCH 14

The senator gave a detailed account of the symptoms he experienced before testing positive for the disease.

Pimentel said he has a slight sore throat and coughed from time to time but his breathing remained "okay."

Body pains and flu started on March 14, Pimentel said.

He had a fever at 38 degrees Celsius on March 18 and experienced diarrhea "on and off."

"Now body is back to normal with the usual aches felt even without the flu," he said.

He did not share whether he has taken any medication or had a hospital check.

"I feel I am, with God’s help, on the way to recovery... I have faith that together we can overcome these challenging times," the senator said, as he thanked frontline medical workers for "putting their lives at risk on a daily basis to bring a halt to this pandemic."

Pimentel said he would contact those he got in touch with "during those crucial days" and urged the public to adhere to the government's prescribed policy of physical distance, frequent hand washing and staying indoors during the enhanced community quarantine.

"If and when I get well I will urge our local scientists to study the possibility of looking for the cure or prevention of COVID-19 in the blood of those who have recovered," the senator said.

Pimentel is the second senator who was infected by the disease, after Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri confirmed on March 16 that he had tested positive for coronavirus.

At least 4 other senators tested negative for the virus despite attending a March 5 hearing where a COVID-19 patient was as a resource person.

The Senate building was disinfected shortly after Zubiri tested positive for the disease.

COVID-19 has infected at least 552 patients in the country. Of those infected, 35 died, 20 recovered, while the rest - including senators Pimentel and Zubiri - continue to battle the disease.