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Pimentel to face charges for violating quarantine

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PHILSTAR

SENATOR Aquilino L. Pimentel on Friday said he would face allegations that he broke self-quarantine protocols for patients suspected to have been infected with the novel coronavirus.

“I will respond to their specific allegations in due time after we read them and compare with what is in the law,” Mr. Pimentel, who had tested positive for the virus, said in a mobile-phone message.

“We are in an entirely new environment where everything is in a state of flux,” he said. “I believe even the so-called protocols have changed over time. Everything will be clarified in due time.”

Mr. Pimentel said he found out he was positive on Tuesday evening while he was at the Makati Medical Center (MMC) with his wife Kathryna, who was due to deliver their child.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte locked down the entire Luzon island on March 16, suspending classes, work and public transportation to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.

The hospital earlier rebuked Mr. Pimentel for being reckless and irresponsible. Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III also agreed the senator had breached protocols.

Lawyer Rico Quicho had said Mr. Pimentel could face criminal charges and a disbarment complaint for exposing health care workers to the coronavirus.

Mr. Quicho said the senator had violated a law requiring “reporting of notifiable diseases and health events of public health concern,” which punishes violators with imprisonment of up to 6 months and a maximum fine of P50,000.

Meanwhile, Senator Juan Miguel F. Zubiri, the first senator to get infected, said he would extend his home quarantine to 21 days. He said he was coordinating with private hospitals for the mandatory tests that should be taken to ensure he has recovered.

“I am now on my 16th day of isolation but I have decided to extend it to 21 days just to be absolutely sure that I no longer have any symptoms,” Mr. Zubiri told reporters.

He said patients who had tested positive must test negative twice before they can be considered to have recovered, based on Department of Health (DoH) protocols.

He said he would take and pay for these tests. — Charmaine A. Tadalan





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