Armed Forces Chief tests positive for COVID-19

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 27) — Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief Felimon Santos Jr. has tested positive for COVID-19 and will undergo strict quarantine starting Friday.

AFP in a statement said Santos received his test result on Friday. His swab was taken on March 23. This comes after he presided over the donning of rank for a promoted senior AFP officer who later tested positive for the viral disease.

“Upon learning that, I immediately had myself quarantined, and with the criteria of DOH, having exposed to a positive case,” he told CNN Philippines’ Newsroom.

The AFP assured that the Chief of Staff is in good health and will not be admitted in a hospital. He will be continuously monitored by physicians while he is in his military quarters, where he will continue to work.

"He is well and in good health condition. He will be in his military quarters where he will continue the discharge of his duties and responsibilities," it said in a statement.

Santos added he meets with his staff through teleconferencing while he is under quarantine.

AFP Vice Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Gaudencio Collado, Jr. was tasked to oversee the daily operational activities, while Deputy Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Erickson Gloria will attend to administrative matters.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he will undergo self-quarantine after his close contact with Santos during events in Villamor Airbase on March 21 and in Camp Aguindaldo and Malacañang on the 22nd.

"I have no symptoms but protocol says I have to self-quarantine for 14 days," he said in a message.

Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat also said she will undergo self-isolation after attending a meeting with Santos on March 22. Despite her exposure to a positive case, she said she will not ask for a COVID-19 test as she is not showing flu-like symptoms.

"I will not be having myself tested in order to save the limited supply of testing kits to people who truly need it," she said in a statement.

The Philippines has a total of 803 confirmed cases, 54 deaths, and 31 recoveries.