By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
The Presidential Security Group (PSG) has recommended to Malacañang’s Internal House Affairs Office (IHAO) the suspension of Palace tours to secure Malacañang from the threat of the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (nCoV ARD).
PSG commander BGen Jose Eriel Niembra made the statement after the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed the country’s first case of the nCoV ARD.
In a text message, Niembra said the recommendation was a preventive measure to prevent the spread of the disease in the country’s center of power.
“While crafting protocols for visitors in the Palace, PSG has recommended to IHAO the indefinite suspension of museum and Palace tour,” he said.
“This is a preemptive measure to ensure that the seat of government is secured from this biological threat,” he added.
Niembra earlier required all PSG personnel inside the Malacañang compound to wear face masks to protect themselves from the virus.
“In view of the current threat brought by 2019-nCoV, all PSG personnel on duty at Malacañang Complex are hereby required to wear [a] face mask as [a] precautionary measure against the spread of [the] said virus,” he said.
“Effective immediately. Masks are provided by the unit,” he added.
The DOH confirmed on Tuesday the country’s first case of the 2019-nCoV ARD. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the patient is a 38-year-old Chinese woman from Wuhan, China, the said epicenter of the virus.
Read more: DOH confirms 1st case of 2019-nCoV in PH
The DOH said the patient is currently isolated at the San Lazaro Hospital in Sta. Cruz, Manila. Malacañang likewise said there was no way the virus would be spread as the hospital staff is protectively dressed and their mouths and noses covered with surgical masks plus their hands covered with gloves.