By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
One of the 18 Senate employees who tested positive in the rapid antibody tests turned out negative for COVID-19, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said on May 5, Tuesday.
Sotto, in an online meeting with reporters, said the Senate personnel was a staff member of Sen. Richard Gordon who took a reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test at the Philippine Red Cross after yielding positive for antibodies.
Gordon chairs the Philippine Red Cross.
Sotto said they are still waiting for the results of the 17 other Senate employees, whose samples, meanwhile, were taken to different COVID-19 hospitals yesterday.
“We [are] encouraging the relatives or those living with the 17 employees of the Senate to probably have their tests also,” he said.
Sotto said the Senate will continue its rapid testing for employees who were not tested on Monday, before they reopened sessions.
The Senate, he said, will shoulder the costs of the RT-PCR tests for those who would yield positive in the rapid tests.
Despite employees testing positive for possible COVID-19, Sotto believed the rate is still “not too alarming.”
He said he will still be going to the Senate to preside over the chamber’s hybrid sessions.
“Basta importante nag-iingat lang at dinadagdagan mo ‘yong dasal (What’s important is to remain vigilant and to pray a bit more),” he said.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila, the Upper Chamber, on May 4, adopted a resolution allowing its members to participate in plenary sessions thru teleconferencing during a state of national emergency.