Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s former presidential aid and current Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Tesoro Go have announced they will undergo testing for the SARS-COV-19 virus that causes the ailment known as COVID-19. The disease is now classified as a global pandemic by World Health Organization (WHO) officials.

Go made the announcement early Thursday claiming the decision to test was a “precautionary measure" and told reporters, "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.”

When asked about a possible self-quarantine, Go replied, "Not yet. Work muna” that means, “I have to work first.”

The concern with Duterte is that he fits the description of those most vulnerable to the coronavirus almost perfectly. He is 74 years of age and just a few months ago raised some eyebrows when he appeared “disheveled” during a visit to Russia. He suffers from several ailments including myasthenia gravis, Buerger's disease, Barrett's esophagus, and various "spinal issues”.

Other Philippine cabinet members serving Duterte placed themselves under self-quarantine after contacting a coronavirus patient or simply as an abundance of caution:

  • Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez placed himself under self-quarantine Wednesday after encountering a confirmed coronavirus patient.
  • Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade joined Dominguez after meeting the same patient.
  • Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, who was with Dominguez and Tugade last week, joined them by announcing that he would be isolating himself.
  • Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea also placed himself under self-quarantine as a "preventive measure."
  • Department of Education Secretary Leonor Briones said she would quarantine herself as an "extra precautionary measure". She was in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient between Feb. 28 and March 5.

According to Presidential Security Group Commander Colonel Jesus Durante III, the presidential palace will be closed on Thursday for disinfection. Employees are still scheduled to report for work.

The latest statistics on Thursday shows a total confirmed case number of 126,431 and 4,641 deaths. Unless China is concealing data to make it look like the disease is under control, the new epicenter is Italy and Iran with several other European countries and the U.S. primed for an explosion of new cases.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced a 30-day ban on most European flights during a prime-time address on Wednesday night. Also, in the news was that Hollywood megastar Tom Hanks of “Forrest Gump” fame and his wife Rita Wilson announced they had tested positive while filming a movie about Elvis Presley in Australia.

As of Thursday, the Philippines’ coronavirus toll is 49 confirmed coronavirus cases and two deaths.