Philippine Armed Forces’ chief contracted coronavirus, after contact with him Tourism Secretary to go on self-quarantine

AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Felimon Santos Jr. (AFP EastMinCom / MANILA BULLETIN). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.


MANILA, Mar 27, 2020, The Philippine Daily Inquirer. Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Gen. Felimon Santos Jr. has tested positive for coronavirus, Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana said Friday, The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.

Lorenzana himself is now under quarantine after he found out Friday morning about Santos’ test results.

The defense chief said he had close contact with the AFP chief on two occasions recently: the turnover of medical supplies at the Villamor Air Base on Saturday (March 21), and at the General Headquarters and Heroes Hall in Malacanang on Monday (March 23).

Lorenzana said he is currently asymptomatic, but he would abide by the protocol of the Department of Health to undergo self-quarantine for 14 days.

Santos on Tuesday announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the AFP — a senior officer assigned at the General Headquarters at Camp Aguinaldo.

The AFP chief said he had placed himself under home quarantine after he found out about the results of the senior officer, whom he had come in contact with in previous engagements. His quarantine was supposed to last until March 27.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat will go on self-quarantine after coming in close contact with Gen. Felimon Santos Jr., The Inqiurer added.

In a statement on Friday, Puyat said she would not undergo a test as she has yet to manifest symptoms.

“Given the recent unfortunate news that the AFP Chief of Staff has tested positive for COVID-19, I will be undergoing self-quarantine. Since I do not show any signs nor symptoms, I will not be having myself tested in order to save the limited supply of testing kits to people who truly need it,” she said.

The tourism secretary said she was exposed to Santos in a meeting last March 20.

“By staying at home, I will not put anyone I come in contact with at risk. The safety of those around me is my priority,” she said.

“But this will not stop me from doing my job,” she added.

According to Puyat, officials and staff of the Department of Tourism (DOT), have been working remotely from each other right after the entire Luzon was placed under an enhanced community quarantine to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Despite this, the DOT has assisted 11,863 stranded travelers all over the country, she said.

“Our locations will not beset us from fulfilling our duties to serve our tourists and stakeholders in this time of need,” she further said.

It was Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana who disclosed that Santos tested positive for COVID-19.

While currently asymptomatic, Lorenzana said he would also abide by the protocol of the Department of Health to undergo self-quarantine for 14 days.

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