Zubiri tests negative for COVID-19 after virus scare

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 28 2020 11:16 AM | Updated as of Jul 28 2020 06:42 PM

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri handles the legislative agenda of the Senate during the opening of the 2nd Regular Session of the 18th Congress on July 27, 2020. Joseph Vidal, Senate PRIB

MANILA (UPDATE) - Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri on Tuesday said his confirmatory tests showed that he no longer has "live" cells of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a day after he tested positive for the virus anew.

Results from a second swabbing showed that the initial test may have detected "dead pieces of the cells," Zubiri told reporters in a text message.

"What the Infectious Disease Experts have told us is that the [swab test] result yesterday possibly detected remnants of dead virus cells which is a common occurrence with recovered patients," said the senator, who contracted COVID-19 in March.

"Studies from Europe, Asia and the US have shown that recovered patients with antibodies are no longer infectious if COVID cells are discovered in their system," he said.

Zubiri took 3 rapid tests and 2 swab tests in less than 24 hours before he was declared COVID-19-negative.

Despite being cleared of COVID-19, the Senate Majority Leader said he would remain in isolation for about 2 weeks.

"Just to be sure and safe, I will still continue my quarantine for the prescribed period," he said.

Zubiri was supposed to physically attend President Rodrigo Duterte's 5th State of the Nation Address, but canceled his plans after he tested positive for COVID-19 shortly before his trip to the Batasang Pambansa.

Sen. Sonny Angara, another COVID-19 survivor, also experienced a similar incident in May when he tested positive for the virus shortly before donating blood plasma for patients who are still recuperating from the disease.