FORMER Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. has tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), but his condition has started to improve, his spokesman said on Tuesday.

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine released his test result on March 28, his spokesman Victor Rodriguez said in an e-mailed statement.

His sister Senator Imee Marcos earlier said he had taken the coronavirus test after he got sick.

Mr. Marcos was undergoing treatment at an “isolation area,” his spokesperson said.

Mr. Marcos had come from Spain, where tens of thousands had been infected with the virus.

He went to a hospital on March 14 after experiencing chest pains but went home because too many patients were waiting in line.

Mr. Rodriguez said the former senator was rushed to the emergency room of an undisclosed hospital on March 22 after having difficulty breathing.

He was then tested for the COVID-19 virus and was told to undergo self-quarantine.

Also yesterday, medical equipment imported by the United Nations for coronavirus testing in the Philippines may get delayed due to tax issues, according to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr.

Mr. Locsin said the virus detection machine and mobile X-ray had been provided by the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) did not arrive on Monday because of the tax problem.

“It must pay taxes or declare it a donation,” Mr. Locsin said in a social media post, on Monday night. “But IAEA does not donate,” he added.

He said the consignee for the shipment must be changed to the UN Development Programme (UNDP) to do away with the tax dues.

He added that his agency would still ask for tax exemption for IAEA.

“I will ask for tax exemption for COVID-19-related equipment given by IAEA to the Philippines,” he said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs had been helping facilitate donations in kind from four foreign governments, one international organization and 12 private companies, individuals and civil society, according to a presidential palace report to Congress dated March 30.

DFA was also coordinating with the Department of Information and Communications Technology in developing a website that will provide information on international humanitarian assistance amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The website would promote transparency and speed up “acceptance and distribution of donations,” it said.

The Bureau of Customs earlier said it had quickened the release of six ventilators, 48 cartons of personal protective equipment from Xiamen Boson Biotech, 40,000 test kits from Temasek Foundation and 57,600 kits from the Alibaba Foundation. — Charmaine A. Tadalan