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Duterte to get tested for coronavirus

MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – President Rodrigo Duterte will get tested for the novel coronavirus, his former presidential aide and now Senator Bong Go confirmed on Thursday, March 12. 

Go made the announcement past midnight on Thursday, saying the test was a "precautionary measure" and that he would also get tested along with Duterte.

Go denied he and Duterte were showing symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

"We are not doing this because we have symptoms of COVID-19; we are doing this to ensure that we are fit and healthy to engage the public and perform our duties in the coming days and weeks," Go told reporters.

Go added the testing will be done considering several Cabinet members had been exposed to individuals confirmed to have the coronavirus.

But asked whether he would go on self-quarantine, as other senators had done, Go said on Thursday, March 12: "Not yet. Work muna (I need to work first)."

Two of Duterte's Cabinet members, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, placed themselves under self-quarantine on Wednesday, March 11, after coming into contact with a confirmed coronavirus patient. 

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea also placed himself under self-quarantine as a "preventive measure." 

Meanwhile, Presidential Security Group Commander Colonel Jesus Durante III said the Palace will be closed on Thursday for disinfection. Employees will still report for work tomorrow.

As of Thursday, the Philippines has so far recorded 49 confirmed coronavirus cases, two of whom have died.  With a report from Aika Rey/Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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