Marcos tests positive for COVID-19, will run govt from isolation

Jojo Riñoza and Froilan Gallardo
2022.07.08
Manila
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Marcos tests positive for COVID-19, will run govt from isolation Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (left) pays a courtesy call to Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. at Malacañang Palace in Manila, July 6, 2022.
[Handout/Presidential Photographers Division via AFP]

Newly installed Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has tested positive for COVID-19 and will run the government from isolation, his aides said Friday.

Marcos, who took office last week, has a slight fever but is otherwise fine, Press Secretary Beatrix Rose Cruz-Angeles told a news briefing.

Marcos would have to undergo isolation for seven days from the time he tested positive, according to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

“After that, if his symptoms have resolved already, he may be able to go back to work and have his face-to-face activities,” she said.

The Presidential Management Staff had already contacted all people who were in close contact with the Philippine leader, she said.

The Marcos clan, led by his elderly mother Imelda Marcos, was with Marcos Jr. when he was inaugurated as the country’s 17th president last week, as were dozens of foreign diplomats, personalities and local officials. Among them were Douglas Emhoff, the husband of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, and Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan. 

Ferdinand Alexander Marcos, a House of Representatives member and Marcos’ eldest son, had spent time with his father but has tested negative, the presidential palace said. First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos, and her two other sons are currently out of town and are not known to have recently been in contact with the president.

Cruz-Angeles said that she as well as Executive Secretary Victor Rodriguez and other palace personnel who were considered close contacts have tested negative for COVID-19.

Since Marcos is symptomatic, the result of the antigen test is already considered “accurate,” Vergeire said, without elaborating.

The president will participate virtually in an upcoming meeting of the Leagues of Governors and Mayors, where the current vaccination campaign is scheduled to be discussed.

“This is part of the continuing campaign for a series of vaccinations and booster shots in preparation for the face-to-face opening of classes this school year,” Cruz-Angeles said. “The president encourages the public to get their vaccine series and boosters.”

The government has lifted nearly all health restrictions across the country after mass vaccination campaigns were carried out. Shops, malls and businesses have also since reopened, although wearing of masks is still mandatory.

As of last month, about 70.3 million people of the country’s 110 million population have been fully vaccinated. Another 15 million have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The government is aiming to fully vaccinate 70 percent of the population to achieve herd immunity.

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