WORLD Philippine presidential spokesman tests positive for COVID-19

WORLD

Philippine presidential spokesman tests positive for COVID-19

Xinhua

16:44, March 15, 2021

File photo: Agencies

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque announced on Monday that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

In a televised press conference, Roque said that he got his swab test results a few minutes before he went on air around noon for the regular Monday press briefing.

Roque, who isolated himself after learning the swab test results, said he took the swab test on Sunday in preparation for his meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday. He urged those who came close contact with him to go on quarantine.

Roque is the fifth member of Duterte's cabinet that caught the highly-infectious coronavirus.

Last year, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, Education Secretary Leonor Briones, and Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano also contracted the virus. All the four officials have since recovered.

The Philippines is now experiencing an uptrend in COVID-19 infections this month, similar to July-August 2020, when daily cases peaked. The Philippines reported 5,000 cases on Saturday, the highest daily rise since August last year.

Complicating the Philippines' fight against COVID-19 is the emergence of the highly infectious coronavirus variants found in Britain, South Africa, and Brazil.

Health experts believe that these variants, coupled with the people's failure to comply with health protocols such as wearing a face covering and keeping distance, drive up the infections.

The Philippines now has 621,498 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 12,829 deaths.

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