PNP rolls out new quarantine rule for cops as cases within ranks soar

PNP rolls out new quarantine rule for cops as cases within ranks soar
In this May 3, 2020, photo, PNP-SAF officers are seen enforcing a hard lockdown in Tondo, Manila.

MANILA, Philippines — Cops caught not wearing face mask and shield and were in contact with a personnel positive for COVID-19 would now be required to undergo quarantine in a bid to curb infections, the police force said Sunday.

PNP's deputy chief for administration Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said cops exposed would be brought to quarantine facilities even if they are not yet tested for the virus.

"The reason here is that the possibility of coronavirus infection ins high if they made close contact with a COVID-positive patient if they are not wearing a face mask and face shield," he said.

Infections within the PNP have reached beyond 9,200, months since they were first put to task to carry out coronavirus-related curbs, while deaths have reached 28.

The PNP has two testing laboratories in its headquarters in Camp Crame in Quezon City, with officials attributing the high recovery rate to increased screening capacity.

Of its total number of infections, 9,241 have since got well, with 316 considered as active cases.

“While all those who made close contact with COVID-19 positive personnel would be required to report to their respective Health Service units for medical assessment, our rule now is that those who would be found not wearing face mask and face shield at the time of the close contact will immediately be taken to quarantine facilities," Eleazar added.

Cops have also been told to keep their close contact diary containing names of people they come in contact with, including the time, date and place of the interaction.

President Rodrigo Duterte in mid-March 2020 tasked the police and military to implement the hard lockdown imposed throughout the country in a bid to stop the transmission of the virus. It had raised criticism that the administration was militarizing its response to a public health crisis, along with putting retired military generals at the helm of the coronavirus task force.

The role of state forces remains to date with the country still under quarantine the world's longest despite government's bid to enjoin more people to go out to revive the economy that had plunged into recession for the first time in three decades.

PNP personnel have since figured in a series of controversies in carrying out COVID-19 curbs, including the shooting of ex-military officer Winston Ragos in April of last year, the use of rattan sticks or yantok for supposedly quarantine violators that has been questioned, along with of course, the birthday bash of then Metro Manila police chief Debold Sinas in May despite mass gatherings prohibited.

Sinas has since been cleared by President Rodrigo Duterte despite ongoing probe for administrative and criminal charges, and has found himself now as the chief of the entire police force. — Christian Deiparine with reports from Franco Luna

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