A portion of Malacañang Palace, the office of President Rodrigo Duterte, was shut down today after a member of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) tested positive for the coronavirus.
In a memo dated July 20, PCOO Undersecretary Marvin Gatpayat said that “as a safety precaution” they are suspending work today to make way for the disinfection of the New Executive Building, where the PCOO’s office is located. Work will resume on July 27, Monday.
“[S]wab testing for primary and secondary contacts will be conducted,” he said.
The New Executive Building also houses the office of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque and the Malacañang Press Briefing Room.
The Presidential Security Group (PSG), Duterte’s bodyguards, requires all close contacts of the president to undergo COVID-19 rapid tests before seeing the chief executive. Rapid tests are widely known to be unreliable, unlike the polymerase chain reaction tests which are considered the gold standard in coronavirus testing.
The PSG has been protective of Duterte since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic and even warned the public that they are forbidden to touch the president, an order that the chief executive has vowed to ignore.
This article, Malacañang partially shuts down after employee tests positive for coronavirus, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!