Ilocos Norte gov goes on isolation after exposure to Harry Roque

Ilocos Norte Gov. Matthew Marcos-Manotoc elbow-bumps, a greeting gesture encouraged during the pandemic, with Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque during the latter’s visit to the province on March 12. Two days later, Roque tested positive for COVID-19. Photo courtesy of Ilocos Norte provincial government

LAOAG CITY –– Ilocos Norte Gov. Matthew Marcos-Manotoc on Monday, March 15, said he started his quarantine after he was exposed to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

“I was clearly a close contact, and I will need to quarantine. We ask everyone who interacted with Secretary Roque to also [go into] quarantine,” Manotoc wrote on his Facebook page.


Roque announced that he was positive for COVID-18 on Monday during his regular Malacañang press briefing.

On March 12, Roque, top government officials, and deputy testing Czar Vivencio Dizon were in this city for the ceremonial rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccines.

It was reported that the rollout at the Laoag City General Hospital (LCGH) and Governor Roque Ablan Sr. Memorial Hospital here was the last public event Roque attended before he tested positive for COVID-19.

Manotoc said he followed all health protocols and made sure that all events lined up during Roque’s visit were held “outdoors or as well-ventilated as possible.”

During a press briefing at LCGH, Roque disclosed that he was negative for the COVID-19 test on March 10, two days before his travel to Ilocos Norte.

While in Ilocos Norte, Roque also interacted with local officials, among them Ilocos Norte Vice Gov. Cecilia Marcos Araneta, Laoag City Mayor Michael Marcos Keon, and Councilor Handy Lao.

Dr. Norman Rabago, provincial health consultant, told the Inquirer in a text message that Roque had “so many” contacts during his visit here, and those traced so far would be swab-tested starting Wednesday, March 17.

All those who interacted with Roque were also asked to undergo strict home quarantine and self-monitoring, said Rabago.

A lockdown would be ordered in the two public hospitals visited by Roque if one of his contacts there would test positive for COVID-19, said Rabago.


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