Health Secretary Francisco Duque III agreed with Makati Medical Center (MMC) that Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III breached the quarantine protocol for persons under monitoring (PUMs) for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) when he went to MMC on Tuesday.
“Kami po ay sumasang-ayon na nagkaroon ng breach sa quarantine protocol at hindi dapat nangyari ito (We agree that there was breach of quarantine protocol and this should not have happened),” Duque said during the DOH virtual presser on Thursday.
Duque urged PUMs and patients under investigation (PIUs) to strictly follow the home quarantine protocol and cooperate with government’s efforts to contain the outbreak.
“Ako ay nanawagan sa lahat. Kritikal na lahat tayo lalo na ang patients under investigation [PUIs] at PUMs na manatili sa ating mga bahay. (I call on everyone. We’re all in a critical situation especially the PUIs and PUMs and let’s stay at home),” he said.
“Ganap tayong makikipagtulungan sa mga action na tatahakin ng agencies na ito (We’ll fully coordinate with the actions these agencies will be performing),” Duque added.
Duque, meanwhile, denied reports that he called the MMC to ask favor to admit Pimentel’s wife who was about to give birth.
“Hindi ako tumawag sa MMC para makiusap na kanilang tanggapin sa kanilang ospital ang asawa ni Senator Koko Pimentel. (I didn’t contact MMC to request them to accommodate the wife of Senator Koko Pimentel),” Duque said.
Duque also clarified that there is “no VIP treatment” with regard to testing of Covid-19 patients.
“Ating pong pinapaalala sa mga lab na sundin ang first in first out policy sa pag proceso ng specimen (We remind our laboratories to observe the first in, first out policy in processing the specimens),” he said.
On March 20, Pimentel took a swab test for Covid-19 as he developed fever and experienced slight sore throat, body pain, and diarrhea.
He was one of the senators exposed to a resource person who tested positive for the Covid-19 during a hearing of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.
Pimentel received a call from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine that he tested positive for Covid-19 around 9 p.m. while he was at MMC on March 24.
On Wednesday, MMC Medical Director Saturnino Javier described Pimentel’s visit as “irresponsible and reckless”.
“We denounce the irresponsible and reckless action of the senator. He added to the burden of a hospital trying to respond in its most competent and aggressive manner to cope with the daunting challenges of this Covid-19 outbreak,” Javier said. (PNA)