Duterte’s visitors required to take COVID-19 rapid test – Palace

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Those who would like to meet with President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang will have to take a rapid antibody test first as a safety precaution amid the COVID-19 pandemic, his spokesperson said Wednesday. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 15) — Those who would like to meet with President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang will have to take a rapid antibody test first as a safety precaution amid the COVID-19 pandemic, his spokesperson said Wednesday.

“[It’s] just at least ma-screen kahit papaano ang may audience sa President,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque told reporters.

[Translation: It’s just to screen whoever seeks an audience with the President.]

However, Roque clarified that no one is allowed near Duterte, adding that a “velvet cordon” will separate him from his visitors.

Earlier, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin shared that he took a rapid test and got a negative result when he went to Malacañang. He mentioned that it only took ten minutes to get his result.

Roque also addressed the possible inaccuracy of the rapid tests.

Ang ayaw ng DOH diyan yung 90 percent accuracy on false negative but if it’s positive, so most likely its positive,” he said.

[Translation: What the Department of Health does not want about it is the 90 percent accuracy on false negative but if it's positive, so most likely it's positive.]

The Health Department has repeatedly maintained that antibody tests can show false negative results, which is why it is not recommended for mass or self-testing.

The polymerase chain reaction tests remain the gold standard for detecting the deadly novel coronavirus. The rapid tests can only check the body’s antibodies that fight the infection.

The President on Monday said he will order the purchase of rapid test kits despite the product lacking approval from the country's Food and Drug Administration.