Duque: Public safety relies on everyone's discipline to follow quarantine protocols
MANILA, Philippines – Health Secretary Francisco Duque III reiterated that persons under investigation (PUIs) and persons under monitoring (PUMs) for the coronavirus "must stay at home," following the alleged breach of quarantine protocols of Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III and ACT-CIS Representative Eric Yap.
"The public's safety relies on everyone's discipline in abiding by our quarantine protocols to protect the public, especially our health workers and front line from undue exposure," Duque said in a press briefing Thursday, March 26.
On Tuesday, March 24, Pimentel accompanied his wife to Makati Medical Center (MMC), as she was due to give birth, and found out he was positive for COVID-19 while in the hospital. At the time, he was already a PUI and should have been in quarantine.
Meanwhile, Yap was supposedly under home quarantine as well after being exposed to different persons who had been in contact with a COVID-19 case since March 10.
But Yap disclosed that between March 10 and March 25, while waiting for the results of his coronavirus test, he still attended a number of gatherings. On March 25, he tested positive for the coronavirus.
On Thursday, Duque categorically denied that he called MMC to help the wife of Pimentel get admitted to the hospital.
"Sa mga kumakalat na balita tungkol sa pagtawag ng inyong lingkod sa Makati Medical Center. ito po ay walang katotohanan. Hindi po ako tumawag sa Makati Medical Center para makiusap na kanilang tanggapin ang asawa ni Senator Koko Pimentel," Duque said.
(There is no truth to reports that I called Makati Medical Center. I didn't call Makati Medical Center to convince them to admit Senator Koko Pimentel's wife.)
MMC medical director Dr Saturnino Javier also belied the claim, saying in a DZBB interview on Thursday that he did not get a call from Duque.
Javier released on Wednesday night, March 25, a strongly-worded statement denouncing the "irresponsible and reckless" behavior of Pimentel.
In a television interview on Thursday morning, Javier said that some MMC staff were exposed to Pimentel while he was inside the hospital's premises.
"As of the last contract tracing that we had, maybe around 6 to 8 people have been traced already," Javier added.
He said a few MMC staff had low risk of exposure so they were able to get back to work, while others might need to go on self-quarantine, depending on further assessment of the hospital management.
As of Thursday, the Philippines has 707 coronavirus cases, with 45 deaths and 28 recoveries. – Rappler.com