President Rodrigo Roa Duterte discusses matters with Presidential Spokesperson Atty. Harry Roque on the sidelines of the 22nd Cabinet Meeting at the Malacañan Palace on February 5, 2018. ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Malacañang on Monday said there was no need to worry about President Rodrigo Duterte’s health as he was in “perpetual isolation” and was being tested regularly for Covid-19.

“[President Duterte] is in perpetual isolation in the sense that the PSG (Presidential Security Group) has done a very good job in making sure that no one really comes close to the president,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque said.

Roque made the statement after rumors claiming Duterte went to Singapore for medical treatment surfaced over the weekend.

“Fake news po iyong pag-alis ng Pilipinas ng ating presidente. Nananatili po siya sa Davao, hindi po siya umaalis ng Pilipinas and his health is fine. Kami po ay hindi nagtuloy ng Davao dahil nag-positive nga po si [Interior Secretary Eduardo Año],” he said.

Roque also clarified that Duterte was not a close contact of Año, who recently tested positive anew for Covid-19.

The spokesman said the PSG had put in place measures to guarantee the 75-year-old president’s compliance with health protocols.

“No one can come close to him. I think sinabi ko na sa inyo na whenever we meet with him, there is a velvet rope that keeps him at least six feet away from everyone else. So, no one can really come close to the president,” he said.

Roque later clarified what he meant by Duterte’s “perpetual isolation.”

“‘Perpetual isolation’ is a figure of speech I used to highlight the prudence exercised by the PSG in safeguarding the physical well-being of the President in this challenging time of Covid-19. Much as he wanted, for instance, to shake the hands of those present during his fifth State of the Nation Address, the PSG discouraged him from doing so as part of precautionary measures,” he said.

Duterte was also being tested regularly through polymerase chain reaction tests.

In July, Roque said Duterte’s health was at “88 percent.”

Duterte’s meeting with Covid-19 task force officials and Cabinet members will be done virtually as Año’s positive test forced them into self-quarantine. John Ezekiel Hirro