Panelo to hold virtual pressers starting March 17

Instead of the regular face-to-face news conferences, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo will be holding them virtually starting Tuesday to minimize the risk of catching and spreading the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

Panelo, who was wearing an N95 mask on Monday’s press briefing, backed the proposal to hold virtual pressers which was first suggested by Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar.

Just before Panelo’s regular Palace briefing, Andanar and PCOO Undersecretary Rocky Ignacio also held a separate Laging Handa public briefing at the PTV-4 office in Quezon City where journalists simply texted their questions.

Regular Palace briefings are always televised in the state-run news channel and livestreamed on Facebook.

“Ganun na lang tayo (Let’s do that),” he said, referring to virtual press conferences.

The set-up at the Malacañang Press Briefing Area also observed social-distancing having seats placed one meter apart from each other.

Last week, Malacañang and several government facilities and offices have also conducted cleaning and disinfection procedures to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

Asked to explain his reason for an N95 mask, he said it was a “preemptive” measure since he is experiencing a mild cough.

“Napapansin ko napapa-ubo ako. Wala naman akong ano pero…ayoko ng pag umubo ka, sabi ng mga doktor, pag umubo ka kailangan takpan mo so at least pag umubo ako e walang tatamaan ng virus na lumalabas sa bibig ko. Kumbaga, preeemptive ang lahat ng gawin natin. Wala namang mawaala sa atin (I noticed that I’m coughing. Doctors say that when you cough, you have to cover your mouth, so at least when I cough, nobody would catch the virus from my mouth. Let’s say it’s a preemptive measure. We won’t lose anything by doing it),” he said.

He, however, insisted that he was not yet showing any symptoms of Covid-19 to get tested.

“Ang sabi ng mga doktor, wag kang magpa Covid test nang wala ka naman nararamdaman kasi inaagawan mo lang yung dapat i-test e. Kung wala ka namang nararamdaman, mag self-quarantine ka lang (The doctor says, don’t get tested if you don’t feel any symptoms because you’re robbing the chance for those who really need it. If you don’t feel anything, you should self-quarantine instead),” he said.

He said he has been extra cautious in maintaining the health department’s prescribed “social-distancing” which requires spacing of at least one meter and has avoided touching doorknobs.

“We have to be very conscious because we are protecting not only ourselves, but yung ating kasama (but our companions),” he said.

As of Sunday, the Department of Health (DOH) said there are a total of 140 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country including 12 deaths.

President Rodrigo Duterte has placed Metro Manila under “community quarantine” until April 14 to restrict people outside Metro Manila from entering the region, unless they are workers, departing passengers, and individuals aboard vehicles carrying cargoes.

On the other hand, Metro Manila residents are also required to observe strict social distancing and avoid mass gatherings.

Uniformed personnel and quarantine personnel were also placed in border points to apprehend motorists who defy the order and check the temperatures of those allowed to travel.

He is expected to make a public address on government measures to contain Covid-19 after meeting with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Source: Philippines News Agency