By Genalyn Kabiling
Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Martin Andanar has ordered the disinfection of the New Executive Building and advised employees and journalists to undergo self-quarantine amid concerns of possible exposure to coronavirus inflection.
Andanar made the statement after some officials of the Department of Finance and the Bureau of Internal Revenue held a press conference at the Palace briefing room Wednesday.
“Prior to the briefing, some concerned DoF officials had been with Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez who has now gone on self-quarantine after exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 case during a recent Senate hearing,” he said in a statement early Thursday morning.
“In light of this, we have already ordered the disinfection of the Malacañang Press Briefing Room, Press Working Area, and other areas within the New Executive Building (NEB). Some members of the Malacañang Press Corps (MPC) who covered the economic briefing also deemed it best to undergo self-quarantine,” he said.
The New Executive Building, located along J.P. Laurel St. inside the Malacañang complex, houses the offices of the PCOO, the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson and the press area for the Malacañang reporters.
Andanar also appealed to the members of the MPC and PCOO personnel who may have been exposed to voluntary go on self-isolation and seek medical attention to avert the possible spread of infection.
He noted that work from home arrangements in accordance with the guidelines released by the Department of Labor and Employment and the Civil Service Commission may be considered.
Andanar also said they plan to hold virtual press briefings to ensure that the regular briefings will not be disrupted.
“At this point in time when public health is at risk, we seek everyone’s understanding and cooperation in taking the necessary precautions and in following safety protocols,” he said.
As of Wednesday, the country has recorded has a total of 49 cases of the coronavirus infection. Another patient died due to the infection, according to health authorities.
President Duterte has expressed willingness undergo coronavirus testing on Thursday, according to his former assistant and now Senator Christopher Go.
Go, in a message to reporters, said he and Duterte will have themselves tested not because they have symptoms of COVID-19. “We are doing this to ensure that we are fit and healthy to engage the public and perform our duties in the coming days and weeks. As always, the President and I remain ready to serve and die for the Filipino people,” he said.