Labor official dies of COVID


    LABOR Undersecretary Joji Aragon, who got infected with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) last month, died yesterday. She was 58.

    “She succumbed to cardiac arrest due to the dreaded COVID-19 this morning,” the Department of Labor and Employment said in a statement.

    “It is believed that she contracted the virus following a procedure she underwent in the second week of December last year,” the statement added.

    Before her death, Aragon was the undersecretary for wages and productivity, legislative, advocacy, and internal auditing. She previously served as labor assistant secretary.

    “The entire DOLE family, headed by Secretary Silvestre Bello III, grieves her untimely demise,” the DOLE said.

    Meanwhile, Senior Deputy Speaker Salvador Leachon yesterday revealed that he contracted COVID-19 and has now made a full recovery after more than 18 days since he tested positive for the deadly virus.

    The lawmaker, a trusted lieutenant of Speaker Lord Allan Jay Velasco, said he got the virus during the holidays with his wife Rona, who had fever for eight days straight. Leachon’s children – Red, Beige and Cyan – all tested negative along with their drivers and security escorts.

    “It was very difficult, but I’m okay now,” said the congressman, a brother of Dr. Tony Leachon, a former adviser of the COVID-19 Task Force who drew the ire of President Duterte for his comments on the government’s pandemic response.

    The lawmaker said he and his wife tested negative for the virus last Saturday night which allowed him to walk in their village streets wearing face mask and face shield “to protect others too.”

    At least 11 congressmen have been reported to have contracted the deadly virus, killing two of them: Senior Citizens party-list Francisco Datol Jr. and Ditas Ramos of Sorsogon.

    For the second straight day, the number of COVID cases being reported by the Department of Health nearly breached the 2,000 mark.

    In its latest bulletin, the DOH reported 1,906 new cases, a day after reporting 1,952 cases last Saturday.

    Since January 5, the number of new cases has steadily climbed from 937 to 1,047 (January 6); to 1,353 (January 7); and to 1,776 (January 8).

    The DOH had earlier warned of a spike in figures after the holidays.

    In all, the number of infections in the country rose to 487,690, with eight more patients losing their lives to the deadly virus, raising the number of fatalities to 9,405 for a 1.93 percent fatality rate.

    Quezon City had the most number of new cases at 121, followed by Benguet (84), Davao City (82), Cavite (79), and Bulacan (75).

    There were 8,592 new recoveries, meaning the number of survivors now total 458,198.

    The DOH said this means 94 percent of COVID patients had recovered.

    Less the deaths and recoveries, the DOH said there are 20,087 active cases, accounting for 4.1 percent of cases in the country.

    Of the active cases, 83 percent are mild cases, 6.8 percent are critical cases, 5.8 percent are asymptomatic cases, 3.7 percent are severe cases, and 0.63 percent are moderate cases.

    The Department of Foreign Affairs reported no updates yesterday from its embassies and consulates on overseas Filipinos infected or succumbing to the deadly virus.

    On Saturday, the department also said it received no new COVID-19 reports among Filipino nationals abroad. – With Ashzel Hachero and Wendell Vigilia