Zubiri places Senate under total lockdown

Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri on Friday ordered a total lockdown of the Senate building in Pasay City after seven senators contracted Covid-19 in a span of one month.

“I have instructed the Secretariat to conduct a thorough cleaning and disinfection of all Senate offices. For this reason, there will be a total lockdown of our Senate building and all Senate employees shall work from home and need not report to the Senate on Monday (22 August 2022),” Zubiri said.

He noted that Senate sessions will resume on Tuesday, 23 August.

Zubiri made the announcement after Senators Nancy Binay and JV Ejercito separately said that they both tested for the highly-contagious respiratory disease.

Binay said she is currently in isolation at her home and strictly following recommended protocols, including health and safety procedures.

“After more than two years of consciously observing all protocols to avoid the virus, it is unfortunate that yesterday (18 August), I tested positive for Covid-19,” she said.

Likewise, Ejercito said he tested positive for Covid-19, based on the result of his RT-PCR test on Thursday.

So far, he is not experiencing any symptoms of Covid-19.

On Thursday night, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva announced that he tested positive for the same disease, based on the results of his latest RT-PCR test.

The three senators joined their fellow senators who have earlier contracted Covid-19 such as returning Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, Cynthia Villar, Imee Marcos, and Grace Poe.

Several other individuals such as senators’ staff members and members of the Secretariat have tested positive for the virus, the Senate chief said.

He added that over the past week, a total of 47 Senate employees have contracted the virus.

Monkeypox cases detected

The Department of Health on Friday reported the detection of two additional cases of monkeypox virus in the country, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to three.

In a media briefing, Health officer-in-charge Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the second case is 34 years old, who had a recent travel history to countries with confirmed cases.

Vergeire said the second case tested positive for the monkeypox virus through a polymerase chain reaction test which results were released on 18 August.

The patient is now under home isolation, and contact tracing is currently ongoing, according to the health official.

Meanwhile, Vergeire said the third case is 29 years old, who also tested positive for the contagious disease through a PCR test which results were released on 19 August.

The patient, who is currently isolated in a health facility, also had a recent travel history to countries with confirmed cases.

At the moment, at least 17 of the third case’s close contacts have been identified and details are being verified as contact tracing is ongoing.

Vergeire clarified that the two additional cases of monkeypox virus in the country were imported, citing that the two cases both had recent travel history in countries with confirmed cases.

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