BY BEN ROSARIO, VANNE TERRAZOLA
Hours after the Senate declared a four-day lockdown, the House of Representatives followed suit as more employees and lawmakers tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Speaker Lord Allan Velasco ordered the lockdown on Wednesday night so that all offices and conference halls at the Batasan Pambansa complex in Quezon City could undergo disinfection.
Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, Rep. Michael Defensor (Anakalusugan) and Rep. Jocelyn Limkaichong (NPC, Negros Oriental) were among those infected by the dreaded virus.
“We have decided to place the entire Batasan Complex on a temporary lockdown from March 18 to 21 as a precautionary measure to protect the health and safety of House members and employees in view of the alarming increase in COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila,” Velasco said.
Also 27 employees from various congressional and administrative offices have also tested positive for the disease.
Earlier, Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III also ordered suspension of session and work in the Upper House until March 23.
Sotto said the secretariat and the medical services departments have recommended to declare a continued lockdown in the Senate until Tuesday next week.
“All committee hearings that you would want to do will have to be virtual, there will be no one in the Senate from tonight up to Tuesday,” Sotto told his colleagues.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said there are 24 confirmed COVID-19 cases among their employees. All are currently under quarantine, Sotto said.