Education Secretary Leonor Briones (photo from

Education Secretary Leonor Briones announced on Thursday, April 9, that she tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

”As a government official and Cabinet member, and as a Filipino, it is my duty to announce that yesterday, April 8, late afternoon, I was informed by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine that I am positive for SARS-COV-2,” Briones said in a statement.

Briones, who is already 79 years old, said she was tested twice for COVID-19, the first of which was on March 13, after a she and other officials were exposed to a COVID-19 patient. The result came back negative on March 16.

She said she had herself tested again on April 2 after another a Cabinet member, whom she and other officials had met, announced the he tested positive for the virus.

“He and I attended an urgent and critical meeting of select Cabinet officials on March 23,” she added.

Briones said she is aysmptomatic of the virus and her body temperature, taken thrice daily, remains normal.  She added that she is in isolation and will “continue working virtually.

Apart from Briones, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año also tested positive for the virus on March 31.

As of Wednesday, the Philippines has 3,870 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 182 deaths and 96 recoveries.

The entire Luzon island, the biggest in the archipelagic nation’s 7,641 islands and home to half of its 100 million people, is on total lockdown until April 30 to stop the spread of the virus.  (Rommel F. Lopez)