The familiar voice from the Palace might not be heard for days after Presidential spokesman Harry Roque became the latest Cabinet member to get infected with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Roque said he could not attend meetings with the President as he plans to go to an isolation facility to recover from the illness.
Appearing in a virtual press conference Monday, Roque confirmed that he tested positive for the coronavirus illness, adding he has shown no symptoms of the illness.
“Bukas po ‘yung magiging case bulletin ng DoH kasama na rin ang inyong abang lingkod because as of 11:29 this morning, nakuha ko ang resulta na positive ako para sa COVID,” he said in a press briefing aired on state television Monday, March 15.
Roque admitted that his infection comes as a shock and a surprise, citing he has taken health precautions including regular testing.
He added that he had no close contact with the President during their recent meeting.
“Exactly one year after ECQ, naabutan ako ni COVID-19,” he said. “I’m asymptomatic. I’m very much shocked and surprised na bigla akong nag-positive,” he added.
Roque said he took the COVID test Sunday as part of the health precautions prior to attending a meeting with President Duterte Monday.
The President usually holds a meeting with top government officials every Monday and delivers a public address afterwards.
“Dito lumabas na tayo ay positibo,” he said. Roque has appealed to people who had close contact with him to undergo immediate quarantine as a precaution.
“I ask for you indulgence but kinakailangan na kayo ay mag-quarantine,” he said.
Roque said when he took a COVID test last March 10 prior to joining the President’s visit to Dumaguete City, he tested negative for the illness.
Roque traveled to Ilocos Norte last Friday and held a press briefing there along with local government officials.
Since he learned about the test results when he was already at the office, the Palace official decided to go ahead with his press briefing via Zoom.
“Nag-iisa ako sa opisina. That’s why we are on Zoom,” he said.