MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte tested negative for COVID-19 in his last swab test, an ally said on Thursday, after at least 126 members of his security team caught the respiratory disease.
"Regular naman pong nagpapa-swab test si Pangulong Duterte at, so far naman po, sa awa ng Diyos, ay negatibo naman po kung pagbabasehan po 'yung last niya pong swab test," Duterte's former longtime aide Sen. Christopher Go said in a statement. "Wala po kayong dapat ikabahala pero we cannot take chances."
(The President regularly takes swab test, and with God's mercy, Hhis last test as negative. You have nothin to worry about, but we cannot take chances.)
The President's last coronavirus test was during Holy Week, Go said in a text message.
Duterte "remains fit and healthy for his age," said his spokesman Harry Roque.
"We thank the Filipino people for voicing their concern and wishing the Chief Executive's strength and good health during this time of COVID-19 pandemic as he continues to discharge his functions as head of the government," he said in a statement.
The Presidential Security Team "recently" tallied 126 COVID-19 cases. Forty-five of this were active, PSG Commander Jesus Durante III said on Wednesday.
PSG personnel sickened with COVID-19 were "manning our gates" and are "exposed daily to the local populace," said Duran.
"At the least, our PSG personnel who got infected are not directly or closely detailed with the President and are all asymptomatic without experiencing any adverse symptom. Hence, rest assured that the President is safe and in good health," he added in a statement.
Duterte las year said some members of the PSG took unauthorized COVID-19 shots from Chinese state firm Sinopharm.
It was not immediately clear whether the PSG members who caught COVID-19 included those who took the Sinopharm vaccine.
Duterte, 75, was expected to deliver a public address on Wednesday. However, his spokesman Harry Roque said the engagement was cancelled "in light of the rising number of active COVID-19 cases."
"The physical safety of the President remains our utmost concern," he said in a statement.
"In addition, the preparation for the Talk to the People Address entails a number of staff complement and we also take due consideration of their well-being."