By Claire Morales True and Jeanne Michael Penaranda
Despite being a health and fitness buff, Hidilyn Diaz, the country’s first Olympic gold medallist, has been infected with the new coronavirus COVID-19.
Diaz and other celebrities like beauty queen and actress Pia Wurtzbach, actor-congressman Rep. Alfred Vargas of Quezon City, megastar Sharon Cuneta’s husband Sen. Francis Pangilinan and volleyball star Alyssa Valdez, in addition to star couple Aga and Charlene Muhlach, among others, also became part of the COVID-19 pandemic statistics. (See related stories)
Hidilyn Diaz, who just ended speculations that she would no longer compete in weightlifting by saying she has started plans for the next Olympics in Paris in 2024, disclosed in her Instagram post that despite having a strong and healthy athletic physique, she also caught the COVID-19 virus.
“Kahit ako po, nagpositive na po. Ingat po tayong lahat,” she said in her short Instagram message, earning concerns from the sporting circle, government and military, she being with the military.
This developed as the Philippines recorded its highest number of active cases so far as it announced 32,246 new COVID-19 cases on January 12, raising the country’s total cases to 3,058,634, of which 208,164 or 6.8 percent are active infections, according to the Department of Health.
In a separate report, actor and Quezon City Representative Alfred Vargas admitted he has tested positive for COVID-19.
“I had just tested positive for COVID-19, a difficult and worrying reality that tens of thousands of our fellow Filipinos had to face this week,” he said in a statement, adding that he is asymptomatic and under isolation.
Vargas assured his constituents that he was continuing his work while under isolation.
“We are following all prescribed safety protocols and I continue my work from my isolation station to ensure that our services to our constituents will not be disrupted,” he said.
The House of Representatives, meanwhile, has extended lockdown of the chamber from January 10 to 16. House operations will resume on January 17.
Several congressmen and employees have been infected with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, some of them passed away due to the virus.
Beauty queen Pia Wurtzbach revealed she had tested positive for COVID-19 while in the United Kingdom.
Pia also disclosed she is about to complete her isolation as she recovered from the ailment.
Volleyball star Alyssa Valdez, fresh from her stint at the ABS-CBN reality television show “Pinoy Big Brother,” said she had tested positive for coronavirus and had some mild symptoms.
Alyssa’s talent agency V Management Group confirmed her situation as she went into quarantine.
“Thank you all for the well-wishes!” the former Ateneo de Manila University standout wrote on Twitter.
Wurtzbach added she was symptomatic and even lost her sense of smell and taste.
“Guys, COVID is so real. My timeline shows that many have/had it too, both in the Philippines & abroad. And the numbers are going up exponentially. Please take this seriously (because) anyone can get it no matter how healthy you are,” the beauty queen-actress said on Instagram. “The worst is through. I am recovering well.”
Wurtzbach also criticized those who break COVID-19 protocols.
“Feeling nila, di sila mahuhuli or wala namang nagbabantay [They feel they wouldn’t get caught or that no one’s watching]. I’ve personally seen other people do this,” she said. “Naku, konsensiya niyo nalang ‘yan. Konting personal accountability, please [It’s just your conscience now. Let’s have some personal accountability],” she added.
Meanwhile, singer and actress Sharon Cuneta has gone into home isolation, after her husband Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan had tested positive for COVID-19.
“I have not been this lonely in years… and right after the new year came in, right after my birthday,” said Sharon on Instagram as she turned 56 last January 6.
Sharon said she was thankful that her children have all tested negative in antigen tests but are still in isolation.
“Last night, I tested negative on my Antigen. Kiko tested positive on his PCR test results. This morning, all of us at home tested negative on Antigen. A couple of days or so to see this morning’s PCR test results — all of ours. We are all isolating in different parts of our home. I worry for my children. Please pray for us all, including our beloved Yayas… Thanks so much,” Sharon wrote in her Instagram page.
Sharon is currently part of ABS-CBN’s long-running primetime series “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano.”
Latest reports indicated that Pangilinan has recovered from the virus.
Other celebrities tested positive for the virus are GMA network broadcaster Arnold Clavio who said he contracted it for the first time; GMA’s Iya Villania Arellano, wife of television host Drew Arellano, and her son Leon; comedienne Pokwang; Pia Guanio, her husband Steeve Mago and daughter Scarlet; and Abra Rep. Joseph Bernos.
Bernos admitted he again tested positive for COVID-19.
In a statement, Bernos said he has been fully vaccinated and he already had his booster shot. He said he is experiencing mild COVID-19 symptoms.
“As advised by my doctors, I am currently undergoing home quarantine, isolated from the rest of my family who, by the grace of God, have all tested negative,” Bernos said