Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque just tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. This announcement was made during his regular Malacañang press briefing on March 15, according to Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Roque shared that he informed the public of this piece of news right after he got his test result. “It came as a shock that after 35 tests, we came back positive,” said Roque.
The recent COVID-19 test was administered to Roque on Sunday, March 14, as part of his preparation to attend President Rodrigo Duterte’s public address which is slated for the evening of March 15. As the presidential spokesperson, he is a regular participant in the weekly meetings presided over by the President.
Following this announcement, he asked all those who came in contact with him to go on quarantine. His last public event was a press conference in Laoag City, where he was at the same table with Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc and Vice Governor Cecilia Araneta Marcos, as per Rappler.com.
Coincidentally, Roque tested positive for COVID-19 exactly one year after President Rodrigo Duterte declared the first pandemic lockdown in the Philippines. For now, he remains working in isolation as shared on his Facebook page. He even wore a face mask and face shield for the photo he posted.
Since the start of the pandemic, Roque has been drawing a lot of flak from netizens for his comments, which includes comparing the coronavirus lockdown to a “prolonged vacation,” and that Filipinos cannot afford to be “picky” with the COVID-19 vaccine brand that they will receive from the government.
Roque is not the first cabinet member of the Duterte administration to have tested positive for COVID-19. Prior to Roque, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, and Education Secretary Leonor Briones had also gotten the disease.