A senator from Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ’s political party who tested positive for Covid-19 has triggered public outrage for going to a large Manila hospital with his pregnant wife and potentially infecting staff, as health care workers nationwide are overwhelmed by a surge in cases and a lack of protective equipment. At least nine doctors have died in the Philippines from the coronavirus , and hundreds more have quarantined themselves after coming into contact with Covid-19 patients. While the country has reported 707 infections and 45 deaths, there are fears the scale of the crisis is actually worse as only 2,000 people have been tested. Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III found out he had the virus after accompanying his wife to Makati Medical Centre for a scheduled caesarean section delivery on Tuesday. He admitted to suffering flu-like symptoms since March 14. The hospital on Wednesday issued a scathing statement, accusing Pimentel of violating his home quarantine and forcing doctors and staff members who had contact with him to be quarantined. “We denounce the irresponsible and reckless action of the senator,” the centre said. Pimentel apologised to the hospital on Thursday, saying in a statement that he had not intended to breach its containment protocols and cause “additional anguish and concern to the courageous frontline health workers we all depend on”. He said he was simply there to be with his wife for the birth of their daughter. But members of the public were having none of it, and started a Change.org petition calling on Pimentel to be expelled from the senate and charged with violating the law. By Thursday night the petition had 140,000 signatures. Pimentel is president of PDP-Laban, the ruling party that is chaired by Duterte. He is the third senator in the country to have the virus. Juan Miguel Zubiri said on March 16 he had contracted Covid-19, while Sonny Angara tested positive on Thursday. News that Pimentel had tested positive led to a scramble to trace his movements. The supermarket chain S&R said CCTV cameras at one of its branches showed Pimentel had shopped there on March 16, and it had placed employees who came into contact with him under quarantine and disinfected the outlet. Photos and a video of Pimentel socialising with top government officials and personalities this month have been circulating on social media. On March 4, he attended a meeting at the mansion of boxer-senator Manny Pacquiao. The ruling PDP-Laban says the party and its member Marinduque Rep Lord Allan Velasco will still honor the term-sharing agreement with Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, who is crying coup in the House. PDP-Laban had a mtg at Sen Manny Pacquiao's residence last night. | via @maracepeda pic.twitter.com/OwF7rFCPsA — Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) March 5, 2020 A week later, on March 11, he shook hands with Duterte’s daughter, Davao City mayor Sara Duterte. Senator Koko Pimentel congratulates Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio for the confirmation of her ad interim appointment to the rank of Colonel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Reserve Force by the Commission on Appointments. #SenatorKokoPimentel #MayorSaraDuterte pic.twitter.com/VV0PzufZNb — Senator Koko Pimentel (@SenKokoPimentel) March 11, 2020 The justice department said it would not investigate Pimentel’s case. On Twitter, angry social media users cited his actions as yet another instance of the powerful and wealthy behaving badly as the Philippines desperately tries to control the coronavirus outbreak. It has locked down Luzon, home to 55 million people, and exhorted people to stay at home. Last week, whistle-blowers revealed that despite restrictions on who should be tested for the virus, dozens of politicians and their relatives were tested ahead of health care workers and suspected patients. “Stupid and selfish,” one tweet said, while others called for sanctions against the senator, including throwing him in jail. Leaked data shows Philippine politicians received ‘VIP’ coronavirus testing On Thursday, the state-owned broadcasting company announced the presidential security group was considering filing a lawsuit against congressman Eric Yap, for going to the presidential palace and meeting Duterte despite being a person under investigation (PUI) for Covid-19. As a result, more than 20 staffers at the presidential palace have been put under quarantine. Senator Christopher Bong Go, a close aide of Duterte, said he would self-quarantine because he had met with Yap. In a statement, the Philippine Alliance of Patient Organisations (PAPO) said “this behaviour seems to come from a feeling of privilege and entitlement”. “To politicians who want to be treated like VIPs, we say ENOUGH. Country first before egotistic political entitlement,” the PAPO said. Philippine Congress approves national emergency declaration The Philippine Medical Association on Thursday stressed that health workers were not getting enough protection. “If it were up to me, test the frontliners first and test them again after seven days. Doctors could be carriers themselves,” said Benito Atienza, vice-president of the Philippine Medical Association. Three large Manila hospitals announced on Wednesday they had reached full capacity and would no longer accept new coronavirus cases. Hundreds of medical staff are no longer seeing patients because they are undergoing 14-day self-quarantines after suspected exposure, the hospitals said. 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