Senate of the Philippines (File photo)

MANILA – The Senate of the Philippines building in Pasay City announced a total lockdown on Friday after three more senators brought to seven the total number of lawmakers who contracted Covid-19.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri had instructed the secretariat's office to conduct a thorough cleaning and disinfection.

"For this reason, there will be a total lockdown of our Senate building, and all Senate employees shall work from home and need not report to the Senate on Monday (August 22). Senate sessions will resume on Tuesday," Zubiri said in a statement.

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano first tested positive on August 3, followed by Senators Imee Marcos and Cynthia Villar.

On Wednesday, Senator Grace Poe likewise tested positive and so did Senators JV Ejercito, Nancy Binay and Joel Villanueva, who announced his findings on Thursday.

The disinfection will start after the hearing of the Committee on Basic Education on how the education sector is doing, especially with two years of online classes due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Committee chair Senator Sherwin Gatchalian and Robinhood Padilla and other guests physically attended the hearing.

"My family and I are asking for your continued prayers for me and my colleagues in the Senate for our full recovery. As always, prayer is our first line of defense," Binay said in a statement, emphasizing that she has been observing all protocols to avoid the virus.

Binay joined the Education committee hearing via videoconference

Zubiri said other senators, staff, and members of the Secretariat are also in isolation after exposure to the virus.

"Please stay safe and healthy everyone. Together we shall fight this virus and continue to deliver government service as efficiently as possible," he said. (PNA)