Senate to implement 3-week guest lockdown

The Senate of the Philippines will be on a guest lockdown for three weeks starting Monday, 15 August, Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri announced Wednesday. 

“Due to the rising Covid-19 cases in the last week where three of our colleagues tested positive for Covid-19 during our caucus, the senators decided to tighten our health and safety protocols,” Zubiri said.

“Effective Monday, 15 August for three weeks: We will implement a lockdown for guests,” he added.

Zubiri said the Senate will receive no guests for three weeks except for resource persons which will be limited to three per agency/organization.

“The others could participate remotely,” he said. 

The resource persons will also be required to present a negative RT-PCR test result with QR code, taken within 24 hours, or a negative antigen test result taken within 12 hours from any Department of Health-accredited facility.

Self-administered antigen test results without any valid certification shall not be accepted, according to the official. 

For committee hearings, the Senate chief said that each senator may be assisted by two members of his or her staff, except for the chairperson of the committee. 

Meanwhile, for session duties, the Senate will retain the two-staff-per-senator rule to limit the crowd in the plenary. 

The Senate will also strictly implement the five-person limitation rule to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the chamber. 

At least three senators have contracted Covid-19 since the 19th Congress opened last 25 July. 

Last Tuesday, Zubiri announced that Senator Cynthia Villar, the third senator tested positive for the highly-contagious respiratory disease.

Other lawmakers in the chamber that were infected with Covid-19 are Senators Imee Marcos, and returning Senator Alan Peter Cayetano.

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