LABOR SECRETARY Silvestre H. Bello III has tested positive for coronavirus, his department announced on Tuesday.  

Mr. Bello is asymptomatic and “remains on top of his health,” the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) said in a news release.  

DoLE Information and Publication Service Director Raul M. Francia, in a private Viber message on Tuesday, said the secretary is fully vaccinated with the AstraZeneca brand.   

He was tested for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on Saturday at his hometown in Ilagan City, Isabela and is currently in isolation there.   

“Even while in isolation, the Secretary continues to discharge his functions,” DoLE said.  

It added that prior to the test, Mr. Bello received officials and guests at his office in Intramuros, Manila, and traveled to various places around the country to lead the distribution of cash assistance to displaced and disadvantages informal sector workers who were affected by the pandemic.   

Meanwhile, four more cops have died after contracting COVID-19, bringing the total number of police force deaths to 96 as of Tuesday.   

Two of the four were in their 40s assigned in Central Visayas, one was a 34- year-old assigned in the National Capital Region, and the other is a 48-year-old policewoman assigned at the headquarters in Camp Crame.   

A total of 176 new COVID-19 cases were also recorded on Tuesday, bringing the total to 32,631 with 1,985 as active cases, according to the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Health Service department.  

There were also 157 new recoveries, raising the total to 30,550.   

As of Tuesday, 81,125 or 36.5% of the total 45,700 PNP personnel were already fully vaccinated, while 42.9% or 95,345 are waiting for their second dose. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago