Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar has tested negative for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
“Secretary Andanar tested negative for Covid-19,” PCOO Assistant Secretary Jusan Vincent Arcena told Palace reporters late Friday night.
The announcement came a day ahead of the anticipated release of Andanar’s test results.
Andanar had himself tested for Covid-19 on Thursday after having direct exposure to a PCOO employee who has contracted the virus.
In an interview with dzRH on Friday, Andanar said a total of 49 PCOO personnel also underwent Covid-19 tests because they also recently met with the Covid-19 patient.
As of Friday night, nine PCOO employees had tested positive for Covid-19, Arcena said, adding that one of them had succumbed to the disease, while the other eight are undergoing treatment.
Work at Malacañang Palace’s New Executive Building, which houses the PCOO, has been suspended and is scheduled to resume on July 27, according to PCOO Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Marvin Gatpayat.
Andanar on Tuesday guaranteed that information dissemination on all matters of governance would be unhampered even after some PCOO employees contracted Covid-19.
Since Covid-19 hit the country, government officials and other individuals who wish to visit President Rodrigo Duterte at the Palace have been required to undergo rapid antibody testing.
The Presidential Security Group (PSG) has allowed the use of rapid tests for Duterte’s visitors to keep him free of Covid-19.
PSG commander Col. Jesus Durante III has assured the public that health and security protocols continue within the Palace and other areas frequented by Duterte.
A “no invitation, no entry” policy is being imposed and Duterte’s visitors need to undergo mandatory rapid antibody detection tests, Durante said, adding that engagement areas would be regularly disinfected, while large crowd gatherings at Malacañan would be discouraged. (PNA)
Philippines News Agency