NO less than Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri confirmed that Senator Alan Peter Cayetano has tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Zubiri, who confirmed that the Senate will implement a strict rule in allowing visitors to enter the Senate premise in the coming days, maintained that the senator from Taguig is now in isolation.
It was his sibling, Senator Pia Cayetano, who disclosed this matter inside the session hall, Thursday afternoon to the Senate President himself.
The Senate Chief said it is already an accepted fact that COVID-19 is here to stay and everyone must take the necessary precautions to condition one’s body with the ability to resist the virus through vaccines, boosters, sanitary practices and social distancing.
“Please let him know we’re praying for his quick recovery. I heard that he was positive,” Zubiri reportedly said during the session.
Another senator, Sen. Francis Escudero, opted to put himself in isolation after admitting that he was exposed to a person who tested positive for the COVID-19.
Although Escudero confirmed that he suffered no symptoms, he wanted to make sure that he is not a carrier and opted to isolate rather than spread the virus to innocent people.
Starting August 8, Zubiri confirmed that the Senate security will implement very strict rules by ordering all guests and visitors to present a negative antigen test upon entry in response to the rising COVID-19 incidents. The advisory will officially be released this Monday.
For her part, Senator Nancy Binay said there is a need to tackle the possibility of the third booster shot as she sees the need for the Senate to convene the Committee of the Whole to discuss the pending concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Binay said it is imperative for the Senate in the 19th Congress to still tackle concerns regarding the COVID-19 vaccination programs, access to boosters, inquire regarding the status of the country’s health care workers, look into the health and pandemic statistics, assess the country’s level of preparedness, exit plans on the pandemic and other issues.
The senator said she supports the government’s booster drive, especially in the face of pandemic fatigue and vaccine complacency. But because cases of the COVID-19 had gone down in the previous months, people have become less vigilant.
“I support the recommendation for the third shot (booster), pero dapat maging aggressive ang DOH doon sa mga nasa priority groups, paigtingin pa lalo ang pagbabakuna sa mga isolated and remote areas,” Binay said in a statement.
“Ang importante, we all agree that the paramount concern is to be fully protected from the virus,” said the lawmaker.
Binay noted only 15.34 million Filipinos out of an eligible population of 40 million have so far availed of booster shots, which experts say provide additional protection against the virus.
The Department of Health earlier warned that the surge could hit its peak of up to 11,000 new infections by the end of July, with increased hospital admissions by August to September.
Binay said it is necessary for the Senate to continue revisiting and reviewing the country’s public health policies to ensure that these are up-to-date and in line with international standards.
“At the end of the day, we need to always revisit the science behind our every decision on matters of public health like having a common index and definition of what ‘fully vaccinated’ is or should be that is compliant and aligned with World Health Organization (WHO) or similar internationally-recognized and respected organizations,” she said.