In a Facebook post a little before 7 P.M., incumbent Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri admitted that he tested positive for COVID-19, otherwise known as the coronavirus. Now a World Health Organization (WHO)-declared global pandemic, the virus has escalated to the point that the government has declared an enhanced community quarantine over Luzon, restricting borders particularly in Metro Manila and promoting social distancing among its citizens.
Senator Zubiri says that he is fortunately asymptomatic, or not exhibiting fever, cough, headaches or weakness, or headaches. He self-quarantined on the evening of March 11 after the Senate session, which he says is the best decision he has made, and one which could have protected his family from contamination.
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“As one of those very early on in the Senate who espoused and adovated for stronger Government response on controlling COVID-19, I was very careful in my dealing with people at work,” he wrote in his post. Zubiri put his money where his mouth is by committing PHP 1 million to a fund drive by the Art Rocks Community to import 10,000 testing kits from South Korea. (The group is awaiting FDA clearance to make the imports.) “I practiced social distancing as well as a ‘no handshake policy,’ but yet I got contaminated.” This, the lawmaker says, attests to how easily the virus spreads.
Zubiri is the highest local public official to admit to testing positive for coronavirus. On the first day of the community quarantine yesterday, it was announced that a House of Representative employee who tested positive for COVID-19 passed away. The Philippines currently has 140 reported cases of the virus and 12 fatalities. Worldwide, there have been 6,500 deaths connected to the COVID-19.
Here is Senator Zubiri’s post in full: