Senate to implement stricter COVID protocols

November 18, 2021 Marlon Purification 128 views

AFTER Secretary Delfin Lorenzana tested positive for COVID-19 infection, the Senate will implement stricter COVID-19 protocols for visitors including resource persons entering the Senate premises.

Based on the new protocols, all visitors, guests and resource persons entering the Senate must have negative RT-PCR or COVID-19 Antigen test results valid for 24 hours; a medical certificate indicating negative COVID-19 symptoms and COVID-19 vaccination card.

Names of the guests, visitors and resource persons must be submitted to the office of the Senate Sergeant-At-Arms at least a day before their scheduled appearance.

Last Wednesday, Lorenzana, who had tested positive and recovered from COVID-19 last April, was again positive for coronavirus infection.

In Tuesday’s hearing, the defense chief was seated behind Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, who was defending the proposed budget for the Department of National Defense.

Senators Joel Villanueva and Juan Miguel Zubiri, who were both directly exposed to Lorenzana during the budget hearing, have tested negative for COVID-19 after taking an antigen test.

Senator Francis Tolentino said he also tested negative for COVID-19 after his screening on Wednesday.

The Senate has suspended plenary debates on the 2022 budget bill and will resumte on Monday, November 22.

“We have no sessions tomorrow. Unfortunately, we have to close shop. The secretariat will sanitize the premises,” Zubiri said.

“This has implications, Mr. President, to our deliberation of the budget this week. So let’s continue, let’s finish the budgets that are here this evening so we can continue with the budget deliberation, but tomorrow we may have to rethink our proposal to discuss the budget,” he said.

Apart from the senators and their staff members, Zubiri said the Hungarian delegation, who visited the Senate on Tuesday, was also exposed.

Meanwhile, Senate President Vicente Sotto III asked the Inter-Agency Task Force to review its guidelines on quarantine protocols

He made the call after he expressed frustration that the 2022 budget deliberations could be delayed after Lorenzana contracted the disease.

“Even if you are a Pope, if you came from a non-green country, you stay home for 10 days or 14 days whatever the protocol of IATF is,” said Sotto.

“The meeting of IATF and DOH tomorrow must take note of this. Higpitan ninyo even if he is the president or vice president of the Philippines,” the Senate leader added.