Eduardo Año, one of PH's top pandemic fighters, gets COVID-19 again

Philippine Interior Secretary Eduardo Año confirmed on Sunday, August 16, that he has contracted COVID-19 again, more than 4 months after he first tested positive for the coronavirus.

Año is vice chair of the coronavirus task force in the Philippines, which is now Southeast Asia's worst-performing country in fighting COVID-19.

In a statement on Sunday, Año said he started experiencing flu-like symptoms like sore throat and body aches on August 13. He immediately quarantined himself at home on August 14 and had himself swabbed for his RT-PCR test on the same day.

"Last night, August 15, I received my test result informing me that I am once again positive for COVID-19. In the meantime, I am being closely monitored by my doctors while I am in isolation," the interior secretary said.

"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," he added.

Año first got infected with COVID-19 on March 31. He recovered from the virus roughly two weeks later on April 13.  

In the same statement on Sunday, Año reminded Filipinos about the severity of COVID-19 and told them to strictly practice safety protocols like wearing of face masks and frequent handwashing.

"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," Año said. 

The total COVID-19 cases in the Philippines is on a steady spike, with infections now at 157,918 with 2,600 deaths and 72,209 recoveries.

The unprecedented rise in COVID-19 cases forced President Rodrigo Duterte to revert the lockdown for certain areas into modified enhanced community quarantine. This came after medical frontliners warned that the healthcare system is already on the verge of collapse.

Duterte then assigned specific Cabinet members to monitor the COVID-19 situation in specific Metro Manila cities and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna.

Año is assigned to Taguig City along with Bases Conversion Development Authority CEO Vince Dizon. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.

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