President Rodrigo Duterte skims through a document before meeting with the ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Philippines, Huang Xilian, who paid a courtesy call on the president at Malacañan Palace on March 11, 2020. ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, the top aide of President Rodrigo Duterte, on Wednesday night announced that the two of them would be tested for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), as a precautionary measure.

Go, in a message to reporters, said they did not have symptoms, but they had interacted with Cabinet officials who had since gone on self-quarantine after one of them came in contact with a confirmed Covid-19 case.

“President Duterte and I will undergo testing for Covid-19. We are not doing this because we have symptoms of Covid-19; We are doing this to ensure that we are fit and healthy to engage the public and perform our duties in the coming days and weeks. As always, the President and I remain ready to serve and die for the Filipino people,” Go said.

“Considering that some Cabinet members we engage with regularly have been exposed to individuals who were tested positive of Covid-19 and have decided to undergo self-quarantine, it is just prudent for us to take precautionary measures in compliance with the advice of our health officials,” he added.

The Presidential Security Group earlier announced a no-touch policy on Duterte, but the president immediately rejected such an arrangement.

Among the top public officials who went on self-quarantine were Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade, and Bangko Sentral Governor Benjamin Diokno.

Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado and Education Secretary Leonor Briones have also sequestered themselves, according to GMA News.

Also, Senators Sherwin Gatchalian, Nancy Binay, Sonny Angara and Panfilo Lacson.

Dominguez and the senators went on self-quarantine after attending a Senate hearing led by Gatchalian. One resource person in the hearing turned out positive for Covid-19. Other Cabinet men decided to take precaution because they had met with Dominguez.

The Palace media briefing room, press working area, and other areas of the New Executive Building in the Palace complex were ordered disinfected, after Finance officials, who had been exposed to Dominguez, gave an economic briefing.

Palace Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said on Thursday some Palace reporters went on voluntary self-quarantine, and he appealed to other reporters and Palace workers to do the same.

It was business as usual for President Duterte on Wednesday, as he received Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian in Malacañan Palace.

In a statement, the Palace said Duterte stressed the “importance of continued economic cooperation as well as working together to addresses challenges posed by the spread of Covid-19.” (