By Ellson Quismorio
House of Representatives Secretary General lawyer Jose Luis Montales has denied reports that a room in one of the older buildings at Batasan Complex had been “locked down” as a result of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) threat.
“It’s not true that a room in Mitra is on a lockdown,” Montales said in a message to House reporters past noon Tuesday.
Mitra refers to the RVM building, which holds several meeting rooms as well as offices of congressmen. It was named after the late former Speaker Ramon Villarosa Mitra Jr.
What Montales did confirm was that some House employees were told not to appear for work for the time being due to alleged indirect contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19.
“Some HRep (House of Representatives) employees went to a wake. In another room was [a] person whose brother allegedly tested positive for COVID-19 and now confined in a hospital,” Montales said.
“While we are verifying this report, and as a precautionary measure even though there was no direct contact with the said person, the employees were directed not to report for work in the meantime,” he said.
Montales didn’t say what office the affected workers belonged to.
The lockdown rumor coincided with the slew of new infections that were announced by the Department of Health (DOH) over the weekend and on Monday.
The Philippines now has at least 33 confirmed cases of COVID-19, a currently incurable acute respiratory ailment.
Last month, security personnel at the House began subjecting visitors to a temperature check via digital infrared thermometer scanners as a precautionary measure.