Philippine leader Duterte isolates after COVID exposure

FILE - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures during a speech at the anniversary of the proclamation of the Philippine independence rites on Saturday, June 12, 2021, at the Provincial Capitol of Bulacan province, Philippines. Duterte has gone on quarantine after being exposed to a member of his household staff infected with the coronavirus but he has twice tested negative for the virus after his exposure over the weekend, his spokesman said Thursday, Feb. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
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MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is self-isolating after being exposed last weekend to a member of his household staff who had COVID-19, but Duterte has twice tested negative following the exposure, his spokesman said Thursday.

The 76-year-old leader continues to work while in quarantine and remains in communication with his Cabinet members to address urgent issues and pandemic-related concerns, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said.

Duterte has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and received his booster shot last month.

Nograles confirmed social media reports that Duterte went to the Cardinal Santos Medical Center in suburban San Juan district in the capital region but said the visit was for a “routine medical check-up only.” He did not say when Duterte went to the hospital or provide other details.

Duterte, whose stormy six-year term ends in June, has acknowledged in the past that he has various health ailments, including recurring migraines, as a result of a past motorcycle accident and drinking. But he said his most serious health concern is Barrett’s esophagus, a condition thought to be caused by stomach acid flowing up into the esophagus.

The Philippine constitution requires presidents to publicly disclose any serious illness and Duterte's aides have defended his refusal to release medical bulletins about his health in the past by saying he has not had any serious medical problems.

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