Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque tests positive for COVID-19

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 15) — Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque has contracted COVID-19.

He revealed on Monday that he just received his test result a few minutes before holding his noontime briefing in Malacañang. He went on with the activity as scheduled, saying he was isolated in his office.

"Sa report bukas ng DOH, kasama na po ang inyong abang lingkod because as of 11:29 this morning, nakuha ko po ang resulta na positibo po ako para sa COVID-19," he said.

[Translation: In DOH's COVID-19 report tomorrow, I will be part of the cases because as of 11:29 this morning, I got my result indicating that I tested positive for COVID-19.]

Roque said took a swab test on Sunday, March 14 to prepare for an upcoming Cabinet meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte.

He added that he was still negative for the virus on March 10, before going to Dumaguete with Duterte the next day for the inauguration of some development projects in the city.

During the weekly Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases meeting on Monday night, Duterte asked why Roque tested positive for COVID-19.

Roque replied that he did not know why he caught the COVID-19 bug and enumerated several hospitals that he visited last week.

Roque also assured Duterte he will continue to do his noontime press briefings while on isolation.

"Tuloy-tuloy pa rin po ang mga press briefing. Tuloy-tuloy pa rin po lahat pero para 'di po tayo mahawa, naka-isolate po ako," Roque told the President.

[Translation: We will continue with the press briefing, but I am currently isolated so as not to infect others.]

Some photos of him standing alongside Cabinet officials who surrounded Duterte during the ceremony in Dumaguete on March 11 are posted on the Facebook page of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas but Roque maintained that he wore his face mask and kept his distance the whole time.

On Roque's Facebook page, he can also be seen attending an event by the Cooperative Development Authority in Cubao, Quezon City on March 10 and standing next to some local officials and healthcare workers during the vaccination rollout in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte.

Roque urged those who were in close contact with him to undergo quarantine. He said he will continue with his duties and will work remotely while in a quarantine facility.

He also expressed his regret for not taking a COVID-19 shot when he was offered one during the first day of the rollout at the Philippine General Hospital on March 1.

“Alam niyo po nagsisisi nga ako na hindi ako nagpabakuna nung panahong yun sa PGH. Kung hindi po naubusan at nabakunahan ako sa PGH, siguro po hindi na ako nadapuan ngayon,” he said.

[Translation: I regret that I did not get vaccinated at the PGH at the time. If there were more vaccines and I got my jab, I probably would not have contracted the virus.]

The government's task force earlier proposed to prioritize "influencers" like celebrities and public officials including Roque in the vaccination drive, but the interim National Immunization Technical Advisory Group rejected this, insisting that the vaccines should go to medical frontliners.

Roque then urged healthcare workers to get their COVID-19 shots to protect themselves from the virus.