Senate under restricted access, senators on self-quarantine after guest tests positive for COVID-19
Marje Pelayo • March 12, 2020 • 409
MANILA, Philippines – The Senate of the Philippines has been placed on restricted access to allow disinfection on Thursday (March 12) after one resource person in a recent Senate hearing tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
On Wednesday evening (March 11), Senate President Vicente Sotto III set the restriction to begin Thursday until the weekend to allow disinfection of the Senate halls.
“We are playing it safe. Better to err on the side of caution. But let’s not be paranoid. Quarantine period is being observed already by those concerned,” Sotto said in a statement.
“I’m optimistic that there is no real danger in the Senate,” he added.
In a statement, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian who led the committee hearing on March 5, voluntarily went on self-quarantine after interacting with the resource person.
“Though I am asymptomatic and feel healthy, I will follow government set protocols on such cases and go into self-quarantine immediately given that I interacted with the said individual,” Gatchalian said.
“I instructed all my staff to do the same especially those who had direct contact with the said person too,” he added.
Also in a statement, Senator Nancy Binay said: “Following the decision of Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian to go into self-quarantine, I have likewise decided to take similar precautions and self-monitor for the next 14 days.”
“This is a serious public health matter and I enjoin everyone who came in contact with me in the past week to take the same precautions and observe all the basic hygienic processes,” Binay said.
Binay said she also asked her staff to do the same and take preventive measures.
“With close to 50 people already tested positive, it only shows that the exposure to the virus is real, and there’s a high chance that someone out there is a carrier,” she said.
Apart from Gatchalian and Binay, Finance Chief Carlos Dominguez III and Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade as well as Assistant Secretary Goddes Libiran all went into self-quarantine.
Dominguez and Tugade both submitted themselves to COVID-19 tests despite being asymptomatic as they also interacted with another COVID-19 carrier last week.
“I was told that a fellow I met with last Thursday and Friday last week has tested positive for COVID-19 today. I have no symptoms but I am self-isolating until I get tested. You may wish to follow suit,” Dominguez said.
Senator Sotto said they will also review the closed circuit televisions (CCTVs) in Senate to determine who were the other people the Covid-19 carrier interacted with. MNP (with details from Harlene Delgado)
Swiss artist David Perez alias “S.I.D.” paid tribute on Sunday (April 5), to the “everyday super-heroes” working on the frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic, by painting a giant portrait representing a cashier on Gland town’s walls.
“Today, I will especially pay tribute to cashiers. They are on the frontline with nurses and others. So, it is for our everyday super-heroes”, the 35 years-old graffiti artist told Reuters.
All the residents of the Swiss town of Gland, located between Lausanne and Geneva, who pass through this underground tunnel can also admire a portrait of a nurse that SID did two weeks ago.
A few meters away, there is now a cashier wearing a mask and scanning a bottle of liquid soap, which took the artist 5 hours to make.
“The symbolic is very strong and this is really beautiful”, said local resident Coline Bovet, who was on a walk with her husband and had the surprise to find SID at work.
The cashier was modelled by one of SID’s friends, 25 years old Manuela Perrone, who does not work at a supermarket but just wanted to pay tribute to workers in contact with the public and possible contamination.
On the bottle of soap that the cashier is holding, the artist wrote “thank you”.
SID said he plans to draw other giant portraits of workers in the coming weeks, such as construction workers or garbage collectors. (REUTERS CONNECT)
(Production: Cecile Mantovani and Denis Balibouse)
The Philippine National Police (PNP) will implement a 50-50 work scheme among personnel who are based at the national headquarters in Camp Crame.
This is due to the rising number of PNP personnel who have become patients under investigation (PUI) and persons under monitoring (PUM) of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) threat.
The 50-50 work scheme would use 50 percent or the first batch of personnel to go on duty at the administrative office until April 19 while the second batch will go on duty from April 20 to May 3.
According to a memorandum issued on April 4, the heads of offices/units with essential functions shall determine the work scheme applicable to the personnel, as long as they should observe a 14-day self-quarantine/isolation as part of the PNP’s health protocol.
“Maaaring magpatupad sila ng kani-kanilang scheduling para hindi naman maapektuhan ang ating normal functions,” said PNP Spokesperson Bernard Banac.
Meanwhile, police personnel who are aged 45 years old and above will have to be pulled out from the checkpoint areas.
“Mas vulnerable sila sa COVID-19 (They are more vulnerable to COVID-19),” Banac said.
The PNP will also launch Admin Support to COVID-19 Task Force (ASCoTF) to ensure an organized and speedy logistics, response, and development of frontliners.
The PNP has already recorded 19 police personnel that tested positive for COVID-19 with two deaths.
The total number of persons under monitoring (PUMs) in the PNP has already reached more than 1,300. — AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was in hospital in London on Monday (April 6) suffering persistent coronavirus symptoms 10 days after testing positive for the virus, but Downing Street said he remained in charge of the government.
Johnson, 55, had been isolating in Downing Street after testing positive for the virus last month, was taken to hospital on Sunday night because he still had a high temperature and his doctors felt he needed additional tests.
Meanwhile, Britain entered its third week in lockdown with authorities warning they will have to impose further restrictions on outdoor exercise if people continued to flout rules designed to curb transmission of the virus.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it was “unbelievable” to see a small minority flouting the government’s advice to maintain social-distancing.
Hancock said if people did not follow the rules, which allow people to walk, run or cycle outdoors once a day but not sunbathe, he would have to ban exercise of all forms outside the home.
He said the timetable to ease restrictions – the lockdown exit strategy – could only be agreed once the spread of the coronavirus had been brought under control.
Other European countries such as Italy and France have imposed tougher restrictions on people leaving their homes. (REUTERS CONNECT)
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