PCOO suspends work after employee tests positive for COVID-19

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 21 2020 10:25 AM | Updated as of Jul 21 2020 12:57 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) suspended work on Tuesday after one of its personnel tested positive for COVID-19.

The suspension is to pave way for the disinfection of the New Executive Building in Malacañang, which houses the said office, according to an internal memo obtained by ABS-CBN News.

"Swab testing for primary and secondary contacts will be conducted," the memo, signed by PCOO Undersecretary Marvin Gatpayat, read.

Work in the PCOO will resume on July 27.

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on Tuesday confirmed the memo, saying the employee infected with COVID-19 was placed under quarantine.

"PCOO has already been in touch with the patient and the patient's family for any assistance and support that we can provide," he said in a statement.

"As part of our due diligence in preventing further spread of the virus, our office is also conducting testing for our frontline personnel who are identified as primary and secondary contacts of the patient," he added.

Andanar assured the public that the work suspension would not hamper the PCOO's efforts to provide information since daily briefings held at the NEB would be done remotely.

"The delivery of essential and timely public information will not be hampered by this circumstance," he said.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, who holds regular Palace briefings at the NEB, did his presser remotely on Tuesday.

Aside from the PCOO, the New Executive Building also houses the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson and the Malacañang Press Briefing Room.