4 NCRPO personnel negative for COVID-19

FOUR members of the National Capital Region Police Office who were ordered to undergo self-quarantine last week after being tagged as Persons Under Investigation or PUIs for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have tested negative for the deadly virus, the Journal Group learned yesterday.

One of the four: a Lieutenant Colonel, showed no signs and symptoms of the disease but was advised to continue taking his antibiotics after being diagnosed with acute tonsillopharyngitis. The police officer was tagged as a ‘PUI’ due to his contact with his wife who arrived from Japan and is now in a Metro Manila hospital.

The 2nd with the rank of Police Staff Sergeant was diagnosed to be already well, with no fever nor cough and colds and was not complaining of shortness of breath nor difficulty in breathing. The policeman with the rank of Staff Sergeant was described as a Muslim who frequently attended Islamic religious rites and prayers inside a Muslim prayer room in Greenhills, San Juan City before he was tagged as a ‘PUI.’

The two others — two sisters who are both Non-Uniformed Personnel — were also found to be well, with no signs and symptoms of the virus and without any medical complaints. The two NUPs recently arrived in Manila from Japan. The travel papers of the two are already being verified amid the government’s ‘No Travel Policy’ to Japan in the wake of the COVID-19 threats.

All four are still on self/home quarantine, said NCRPO director, Major General Debold M. Sinas.

The NCRPO is closely monitoring COVID-19 patients and PUIs in Metro Manila. As of last Saturday, it has monitored the presence of 328 PUIs in the metropolis, over 30 of them already in the hospital undergoing treatment

Sinas said NCRPO personnel are now temporarily prevented from taking foreign trips, especially to countries with registered COVID-19 cases.

Philippine National Police chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, ordered the suspension of the processing of Leave Abroad and Foreign Travel for official function  including the processing of Authority to Travel by his men in the wake of the COVID-19 threats which prompted President Duterte to suspend classes at all levels in Metro Manila to ensure that students will not be infected or schools will not be the breeding ground of contamination.

Officials said that the lives and health of soldiers and policemen ordered to fully enforce the ‘community quarantine’ in Metro Manila are at stake too as they try to confront an unseen enemy: possible COVID-19 carrier that may try to enter or leave the metropolis.

This was proven in the case of two San Juan City policemen who went after a suspected COVID-19 carrier after she tried to escape while about to be escorted to the Quirino Hospital in Quezon City last Thursday afternoon.

It turned out that the female patient had tested positive for COVID-19 but refused to be quarantined and fled to St. Luke’s-BGC Hospital in Taguig City on
board her wagon. She later parked her vehicle at the hospital basement where she was traced by the San Juan City police.

Sinas said that after she refused to yield, the woman was ordered arrested and taken to the Quezon City Memorial Medical Center by the two policemen who wore protective suits. The woman’s husband was also placed under quarantine while the two policemen were ordered to undergo self-quarantine.

The NCRPO director said they also have to protect their officers in lieu of the fact that they would be dealing too with possible COVID-19 carriers as they start  manning checkpoints in areas to and from Metro Manila as part of the Duterte government’s ‘community quarantine’ program.

Gen. Gamboa said around 40,000 policemen have been deployed in Metro Manila to enforce the government order aimed at preventing the spread of the deadly COVID-19 disease.