COVID-19

Zubiri negative for COVID-19 in confirmatory test but will stay in quarantine

JC Gotinga
Zubiri negative for COVID-19 in confirmatory test but will stay in quarantine

Senators arrive for the opening of the 2nd Regular Session of the 18th Congress Monday, July 27, 2020. Photo from Senate PRIB

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri skipped President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address at the Batasan Pambansa after he initially tested positive for COVID-19

A confirmatory swab (RT-PCR) test showed Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri negative for COVID-19, he told reporters in a message on Tuesday, July 28.

An earlier swab test on the senator yielded a positive result on Monday, July 27, forcing him to skip physically attending President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Batasan Pambansa in Quezon City that afternoon.

“My confirmatory test with the Philippine Red Cross has come out and shows that I no longer have live RNA cells of COVID-19,” Zubiri said.

The Philippine Red Cross’ PCR machines are “state of the art” and can distinguish between live and dead RNA in blood samples, he added.

This could mean Monday’s RT-PCR test by the Department of Health detected only remnants of the novel coronavirus, which Zubiri contracted in mid-March. He was the first senator who had been infected with the virus but he was asymptomatic. He recovered in mid-April.

Despite his latest negative result, Zubiri said he would remain in quarantine for the prescribed period “to be sure and safe.”

Citing infectious disease experts and studies on COVID-19, the senator said having only remnants of the virus means he is no longer contagious.

Guests invited to attend the SONA at the Batasan were subjected to rapid and RT-PCR tests prior to the event. Because he tested positive, Zubiri just watched the President’s speech from his “isolation room.”

Zubiri was one of only 8 senators invited to the Batasan for the SONA. – Rappler.com

JC Gotinga

JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.