DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 17 August) — Governors, military and police and health officials in the Davao region who attended a meeting with Local Governments Secretary Eduardo Año at the Philippine National Police (PNP) regional camp here last Tuesday had to undergo a COVID-19 test following Año’s disclosure on Sunday that he had tested positive again of SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes the highly contagious disease, urging them to “go on self-quarantine, observe any symptoms in accordance with DOH guidelines, and take appropriate action.”
Año, Vice Chair of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), was with Health Secretary and IATF chair Francisco Duque, National Task Force on COVID-19 Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez, and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, during the meeting at the PNP’s Camp Sgt. Quintin M. Merecido on Tuesday, August 11, attended by Davao’s governors, military, police, health officials and DILG officials.
A day earlier, on August 10, Año was in the meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte, Duque, Galvez, Lopez, and Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque at the Presidential Guest House in Panacan. Año was seated to the left of Duque in the meeting with the President while Duque was seated to the left of Año in the PNP camp meeting.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, who addressed the Malacanang Press Corps from home quarantine on Monday, said the Presidential Security Group (PSG) had always ensured that no one could come close to the President.
“There is a velvet rope that keeps him at least six feet away from everyone else. He’s in perpetual isolation, in the sense that the PSG has done a very good job in making sure that no one really comes close to the President,” Roque said
On Sunday, Año said he underwent RT-PCR test on August 14 after showing flu-like symptoms including sore throat and body aches on August 13.
On August 15, Año’s test result showed that he tested positive again for COVID-19 and immediately went into isolation. Año had first tested positive of the virus on March 31 and by April 13 had tested negative.
“I make this announcement to call the attention of all persons I had close contact with to go on self-quarantine, observe any symptoms in accordance with DOH guidelines, and take appropriate action. I also make this announcement to emphasize the severity of the virus, and to encourage everyone to wear a mask, wash their hands frequently, and practice social distancing. By adhering to these guidelines, we can all help keep our loved ones and our community safe,” he added.
The region’s five provincial governors – Jayvee Tyron Uy of Davao de Oro, Edwin Jubahib of Davao del Norte, Douglas Cagas of Davao del Sur, Claude Bautista of Davao Occidental and Nelson Dayangharing of Davao Oriental were physically present at the meeting while Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte joined them via video conference.
Davao del Sur Governor Cagas told MindaNews on Monday morning that although he wore his face mask and face shield during the meeting, and “it was a big room and I was nowhere near him nor did I talk to him,” he had himself swabbed for the RT-PCR (reverse transcription – polymerase chain reaction) test before 9 a.m. and results will be out within 48 hours. “Meanwhile, I am on self-quarantine at home,” he said.
Police Brig. General Filmore Escobal and Maj. Gen. Jose Faustino were also present along with Health Undersecretary Abdullah Dumama and Health Regional Director Annabelle Yumang.
Regional heads of national line agencies and members of the government-run media outlets also attended the meeting. (Antonio L. Colina IV with a report by Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)