Senator Zubiri tests positive for COVID-19

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 16) — Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri announced Monday that he tested positive for COVID-19.

“I had a test on Friday. The test came out today. Secretary Duque called me with heartbreaking news na mayroon po akong (I have) COVID-19,” Zubiri said.

Zubiri told CNN Philippines that he is not exhibiting symptoms and is currently under isolation in his home. He added that he has taken all necessary precautions, but still caught the virus, likely from someone from the Senate.

“This is not a laughing matter. This is not a joke. Itong virus ay delikado. Napakadaling mahawa,” he said.

[Translation: This is not a laughing matter. This is not a joke. This virus is dangerous. You could easily get infected.]

He said he will be tested again in 10 days to see if he has been cleared of the viral disease.

Zubiri said he had been informed by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III that he had been in contact with a COVID-19 patient.

Senator Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian was first to announce that he will undergo self-quarantine after he was informed that he had contact with a COVID-19 patient in the Senate.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Senators Zubiri, Nancy Binay, Panfilo Lacson, Sonny Angara, Imee Marcos, Francis Tolentino, Bong Revilla, Kiko Pangilinan and Lito Lapid all self-quarantined afterwards.

The Philippines has so far recorded 142 patients with COVID-19, including 12 fatalities. Globally, the virus has infected 153,517 and killed 5,735, according to the World Health Organization.

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2, which is related to the virus which causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, but is not as deadly, with the fatality rate standing at around three percent.

According to the WHO, 80 percent of patients only experience “mild illness” and eventually recover. It added that some 14 percent experience severe illness, while five percent were critically ill.

The disease is spread through small droplets from the nose or mouth when people infected with the virus cough or sneeze.

To prevent infection, authorities are urging people to practice regular hand washing, cover the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and avoid close contact with those who show respiratory symptoms.

Commonly reported COVID-19 symptoms are fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. Those with severe and critical symptoms should call the Health Department at (02) 8-651-7800 local 1149-1150.