The presidential spokesperson was at work when he found out he tested positive for COVID-19.
Harry Roque at a press briefing said that his swab test result was released Monday morning. He took a swab test yesterday, on March 14 in preparation for his attendance to President Rodrigo Duterte’s Monday public address.
“Sa report bukas ng DOH (Department of Health), kasama na po ang inyong abang lingkod because as of 11:29 this morning, nakuha ko po ang resulta na positibo po ako para sa COVID-19,” he said.
Roque pointed out that he is undergoing isolation in his office. He also urged other people who came in close contact with him to do the same.
Health organizations have advised individuals who have been waiting for the results of their Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests to stay away from other people or place themselves under quarantine, regardless if asymptomatic or not.
“If possible, stay away from others, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19, such as older adults and people with other medical conditions,” said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Harvard Medical School also warned the public from the occurrence of false negatives in repeated tests.
“The rate of false negatives, a test that says you don’t have the virus when you actually do have the virus, varies depending on how long infection has been present; in one study, the false-negative rate was 20% when testing was performed five days after symptoms began, but much higher (up to 100%) earlier in infection,” said the HMS.
Under the DOH’s mandated health protocols, those who are exposed to a coronavirus-infected area or patient should quarantine themselves for at least ten to 14 days.
Roque’s case is similar to Philippine National Police chief Major General Debold Sinas who learned he was positive of the highly contagious virus on March 11 during a public event and surrounding by many police officers.
Sinas also had attended several activities prior to undergoing a COVID-19 detection procedure on the same day.
READ: A rundown of public events Sinas attended before contracting COVID-19
Advocacy group iMPACT Leadership pointed out that both Sinas and Roque were also alleged quarantine violators in the past.
Despite the PNP being tasked to enforce quarantine protocols and Malacañang’s daily public reminder to observe minimum health protocols, quarantine violators PNP Chief Gen. Debold Sinas and Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque tested positive for #COVID19PH. pic.twitter.com/xhYAJgSupj
— iMPACT Leadership (@iMPACTPH2019) March 15, 2021
Rundown of Roque’s recent schedule
Roque stated that his last swab test was on March 10 before going to Dumaguete in an official trip with President Rodrigo Duterte. Test results then rendered negative.
Therefore, Roque might have contracted the disease between March 10 after the results came out and before taking another RT-PCR test on March 14.
Last Friday, March 12, Roque graced the ceremonial vaccination of health workers at the Laoag City General Hospital in Ilocos Norte.
Based on the photos, he was with Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc and health workers at the provincial hospital.
Roque also held a press conference along with Manotoc and other people.
The day before this, on March 11, the spokesman was on the Dumaguete trip with Duterte and other high-ranking government officials.
Two events were then held—the inauguration of several development projects of the Dumaguete-Sibulan Airport in Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental and the inauguration of the Port Operations Building in the Port of Dumaguete.
Based on the photos shared by the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, Roque was among officials on stage with the chief executive.
On March 10, which was when he took the previous swab test, the Palace spokesperson attended the 31st Anniversary Celebration of the Cooperative Development Authority in Cubao, Quezon City.
Last month, he announced that he is in isolation “after a member of his staff tested positive for the novel coronavirus.”