Lorenzana says spared from COVID-19 after aide catches virus

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 15 2020 02:29 PM

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana answers questions from the media after an inspection of the Eva Macapagal Super Terminal which was converted into a COVID-19 treatment facility in Pier 15, Manila, April 21, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Wednesday he was spared from COVID-19 after his aide tested positive for the virus.

Lorenzana, who heads the government's pandemic policy implementing arm, earlier said he would go on self-quarantine after a member of his staff was infected with COVID-19. 

"My test came out negative," he told reporters in a message Wednesday.

The 71-year-old defense chief's aide who tested positive for COVID-19 was with him when they visited military troops in Jolo, Sulu on Monday. 

Lorenzana said his aide "was in seclusion" during the Jolo trip and did not interact with President Rodrigo Duterte who visited the soldiers there. 

He said his staff flew back to Manila with him in full safety gear. 

As of July 14, the Philippines has confirmed 57,545 cases of COVID-19. This includes 1,603 deaths and 20,459 recoveries.

Two members of President Duterte's Cabinet previously caught the virus but recovered, namely Education Secretary Leonor Briones, 79, and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, 58. On Wednesday, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, recently named isolation czar, said he had contracted the virus.