Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III has tested positive for COVID-19, he confirmed on Wednesday.
He is the second Philippine senator to contract the viral disease after Senator Migz Zubiri tested positive on March 16.
Pimentel told CNN Philippines he received the news on Tuesday night while he was at the hospital with his pregnant wife Kathryna. He said he immediately left the hospital after the call.
The former Senate President said he received the test result four days after his sample was taken.
“I was informed last night. Okay naman, I just have a slight sore throat. Walang fever, chills wala naman,” he said in an interview.
[Translation: I was informed last night. I’m okay, I just have a slight sore throat. I don’t have fever nor chills.]
He said he is maintaining a healthy diet, boosting his immune system, and sleeping well so he can recover faster.
Pimentel asked for prayers for his family, as his wife is about to give birth anytime soon.
“Imagine, 8+ months pregnant then under isolation pa. I hope the doctors will be able to give her comfort and assurance. Kasi mag-isa lang siya doon,” he said.
[Translation: Imagine, she is 8+ months pregnant and under isolation. I hope the doctors will give her comfort and assurance because she’s alone there.]
The lawmaker said his staff has started tracing the people he came in contact with in the past weeks. Majority of the senators opted to start their 14-day home quarantine early this month after a resource person during a committee hearing later tested positive for COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the senator’s wife, Kathryna, denied reports her husband entered the delivery room even after he was tested for the virus.
She added that she herself has not entered the delivery room as she was required to get a swab test first before she gives birth.
“He went with me sa Makati Med yesterday to be admitted, not knowing he was COVID-positive yet. Then RITM called him around 9 p.m. that he was positive,” she said.
She said the senator had been in self quarantine “for weeks” in a separate room. She added Pimentel went with her for hospital admission because he was excited to see her deliver their first child.
Most of the other 22 senators have undergone testing, despite being asymptomatic and their results turned out negative.
The number of people who tested positive for the coronavirus disease in the Philippines jumped to 552 on Tuesday, with the death toll rising to 35. The number of patients who have recovered is now at 20. There are over 600 persons under investigation and over 6,300 persons under monitoring.