Defense chief goes on self-quarantine anew after aide tested positive for Covid-19

Philippines China
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana

A MILITARY aide of Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana has tested positive for Covid-19, prompting the defense chief and even Armed Forces Chief of Staff and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Felimon Santos Jr. to go on self-imposed quarantine while awaiting the results of their swab testing.

The staff, according to Lorenzana, had traveled with him on two occasions during the past four days. One of the trips was also joined by Santos, in an event that was attended by President Duterte.

“One of my staff [Col. Rolly Nerona] who came with me to Jolo yesterday [Monday] tested positive of the Covid-19 virus based on a PCR test done on him last Friday, July 10,” Lorenzana told military journalists via Viber message. This was the second time that he has gone on self-quarantine in four months.

“He learned about it upon landing in Jolo yesterday. He was also with me at Subic last Friday,” the defense secretary said. The Subic trip was made for the handover, blessing, christening and commissioning of the BRP Jose Rizal, which Lorenzana attended.

On the other hand, the trip to Sulu was joined by Santos and it was made in connection to the visit of Duterte to the province.

While the military staff was in Jolo, he did not attend the event where the Commander in Chief was present, Lorenzana assured.

“He was not in the event with the President in Jolo yesterday as he was in seclusion. He came back with us to Manila yesterday in PPE [personal protective equipment],” Lorenzana said.

“All passengers of both planes have been informed and others he came in contact with while in Subic, so that they can have themselves tested and go on quarantine,” he added.

Lorenzana said he underwent swabbing on Tuesday morning and will “self-quarantine to await the results.”

Santos will also undergo a “doctor-supervised” quarantine,” according to military spokesman Maj. General Edgard Arevalo.

“This also holds true for all the other officers and enlisted personnel on board the aircraft to and from Jolo, Sulu,” the defense chief said.

Image credits: AP/Bullit Marquez


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