By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Members of the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases will have to conduct their meetings using video chat as some of its members have gone on self-quarantine after being exposed to a patient positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Cabinet Secretary and IATF spokesman Karlo Nograles said some IATF members have quarantine themselves after being exposed to ACT-CIS Party-list representative Eric Go Yap who revealed he tested positive for the disease.
In a radio interview Thursday, Nograles said he also decided to go on self-quarantine because he had a second-level exposure to Yap who attended a meeting in Malacañang over the weekend with some IATF members.
“Kaming mga kasamahan nila sa Gabinete, second-generation po kami. Wala naman sa protocol na mag-quarantine kami pero ang ilan sa amin minabuti na lang po namin, katulad ko, na mag-voluntary self-quarantine na lamang (We, the other Cabinet members, are considered second-level exposure. While it is not part of the protocol, we opted to go on quarantine),” he told Super Radyo DZBB.
“Pero kami sa IATF, patuloy ang aming trabaho through telecon na lang. Kasi kung magka-quarantine yung iba kong kasamahan, necessarily kailangan ma-telecon namin sila (But our job in the IATF will continue through teleconferencing. If our other members will go on quarantine, it is important that we still include them through video chat),” he added.
According to Nograles, public displeasure towards government officials possibly infecting others was another reason why he decided to go on quarantine.
“Mag-work-from-home na lang po ako. Kasi ang problema po dito dahil sa mga nangyayari sa mga politicians na nagkakaroon ng ganitong exposure at mukhang merong konting public displeasure (I decided to work from home because… The problem here is there is public displeasure towards politicians who are having this type of exposure),” he said.
“Ang attention po dapat naka-focus sa COVID-19. Huwag nating tignan kung sino ang magka-quarantine, sino ang dapat, sino ang hindi (We should focus our attention on COVID-19 and not on who should go on quarantine or who should not),” he added.
“So, para tapos na, yung gustong mag-voluntary quarantine at mag-work-from-home, mag-work-from-home na lang (So to get this over with, those who want to go on quarantine and work from home should just do it),” he continued.
The public is not happy with reports of politicians and other government officials receiving special treatment and being tested for COVID-19 despite being asymptomatic. In his interview, Nograles said he did not undergo testing but will just go on quarantine.
“Hindi naman. Mag-self-quarantine na lang, tapos mag-telecon na lang kami for IATF para wala nang masabi ang mga tao, ‘di ba (I did not undergo testing. I will just go on quarantine and have teleconferencing for out IATF meetings so people can’t say anything, right)?” he said.
In a statement Wednesday evening, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo urged those who were in contact with Yap to follow quarantine protocols.
“We urge those who were in physical contact with him during the last two weeks to undergo the 14-day self-quarantine protocol for their protection,” he said.
Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado, Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautista, and Peace Process Adviser Carlito Galvez announced they would go on quarantine after being exposed to Yap.