A House official allayed fears that there is an outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the House of Representatives.
Speaking in media forum Ugnayan sa Batasan, House Secretary General Mark Llandro Mendoza said the 98 the new positive cases are only 5 percent of the almost 2,000 employees who participated in the mass testing the lower chamber carried out.
According to Mendoza, it was the initiative of Speaker Lord Allan Velasco to conduct mass testing in the House of Representatives to determine who are really carriers of the disease.
“Gusto ni Speaker Velasco na mas test lahat para sigurado, hindi lang yung may symptoms. So far, all these98 are asymptomatic and mostly acquired through community transmission. Hindi galing sa House ang virus, kung hindi sa labas,” Mendoza added.
However, Mendoza said strict health protocols will continue to be implemented on the Batasan Complex premises. Visitors are required to undergo swab test or submit test result before entering the Batasan building.
The House conducted a mass COVID-19 testing for its members and employees beginning November 10 which yielded 98 cases of COVID-19.
Another mass testing will be done in January when Congress resumes session after the Holiday break, Mendoza announced.
Prior to this, a total of 93 COVID-19 cases were already reported at the House through a symptoms-based testing.
But Mendoza said all these 93 were deemed cleared and recovered, except for three employees and two lawmakers — Senior Citizens party-list Representative Francisco Datol Jr. and Sorsogon Representative Ditas Ramos — who died from the disease.
“Recovered na itong 93, nag-expire na yung iba. Considered as recovered na. Kung total cases, kasama ito. Pero itong 98 na ito as of November 20 ito ang total cases sa House,” he clarified.
“May kumakalat na dito galing sa House. Hindi totoo yun so galing talaga sa labas, hindi nag-originate dito sa House ang transmission,” he also said.
Once vaccine is already available, Speaker Velasco planned to have mass vaccination for the House members and employees.
THE Velasco-Romualdez House-led leadership will allocate funding for the mass vaccination of 301 lawmakers and of secretariat and congressional staff once coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) vaccines become available.
“Mass vaccination is one of the thrusts that Speaker Lord Allan Velasco wants to implement. Allocating funds for the purchase of vaccines is also one of our top priorities,” Mendoza replied to a reporter’s query. With Ryan Ponce Pacpaco