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Wife of resource person at Senate hearing is Philippines' second COVID-19 fatality, says Zubiri

The first Filipino who died due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was the spouse of a resource person who attended a Senate hearing last week, Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said Thursday.

"This is serious as the Filipino lady who died yesterday was the wife of the resource person that attended Sen. (Sherwin) Gatchalian’s hearing," Zubiri said in a statement.

The invited guest for a hearing led by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian last March 5 later turned out to be also infected with COVID-19. This prompted Gatchalian to undergo self-quarantine.

"The resource person himself is in critical condition now," Zubiri added.

The senator said most of the lawmakers in the Upper House of the Congress have decided to isolate themselves on Thursday while they await the results of laboratory tests to be undertaken by Gatchalian and Senator Nancy Binay who were both present during the March 5 Senate hearing.

Others who decided to go on self-quarantine are Zubiri, Binay, Senators Panfilo Lacson, Juan Edgardo Angara, Imee Marcos, Francis Tolentino, Ramon 'Bong' Revilla Jr. and Francis Pangilinan. 

Senator Risa Hontiveros said she will practice social distancing while Senator Christopher 'Bong' Go will undergo COVID-19 testing with President Rodrigo Duterte.

"To be safe, we, the senators should be all tested for COVID-19 as we were exposed yesterday to a number of people," Zubiri said.

"I had been warning my colleagues on the conduct of public hearings during these times but obviously some of them did not heed my warning," he added.

Zubiri also suggested that Senate employees shall be allowed to work from home as disinfection of the GSIS building continues.

"This virus is no joke and we should take this seriously. Many think we are panicking pero kung mahal ninyo mga magulang n'yo at inyong mga lolo at lola then you should take this virus very seriously dahil ang mga malimit na namamatay ay mga senior citizens," he added.

On Wednesday night, the Department of Health confirmed the death of a 67-year-old Filipina COVID-19 patient who was confined at a hospital in Manila. It was the second fatal case in the Philippines.

The first death of a COVID-19 patient in the country was that of a 44-year-old Chinese tourist. It was also the first novel coronavirus-related mortality outside China.—AOL, GMA News