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Defense Chief Lorenzana tests negative for Covid-19

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Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced late Tuesday that he has tested negative for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

“Guys, my test came out today (Tuesday). I am negative of the (Covid-19). On the advice (of) the doctor, I will complete my quarantine until April 6,” Lorenzana said in a message to reporters.

His test results came out early morning on the same day.

On March 27, Lorenzana began his self-quarantine after Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief-of-Staff, Gen. Felimon T. Santos, tested positive for the virus on March 26.

He said he had close contact with Santos on at least three occasions — during the turnover of medical supplies at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City on March 22 and two different functions at the AFP General Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, and Heroes’ Hall in Malacañan Palace, Manila on March 23.

During that time, Lorenzana said he did not experience any symptoms of Covid-19 but decided to go on a 14-day self-quarantine in compliance with medical protocols.

In an earlier interview, he said he was not inclined to recommend the conversion of the Philippine Navy’s (PN) two strategic sealift vessels, which are the largest in the fleet, into temporary hospital ships to house and treat Covid-19 patients.

“Possible but not advisable. First, of our two landing docks that can qualify as a temporary hospital ship, only one is here. The other one is in Oman and will not be back until the end of April,” Lorenzana said.

He was referring to the BRP Tarlac (LD-601) and the BRP Davao del Sur (LD-602).

The BRP Davao del Sur is still in Muscat, Oman with the BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS-17) for a possible repatriation mission of Filipino overseas workers after tensions heated in the Middle East due to the US-Iran confrontations early this year.

“Second, once we convert these ships into hospitals, we will not be able to use them for other purposes. We have only these two as transport ships. Third, the crew numbering 140 will be in danger of infection,” Lorenzana said.

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