Police ‘seriously considering’ locking down training camps to avoid 2019-nCoV
MANILA, Philippines – Police training camps may be locked down to ensure the safety of officials and cadets following the confirmed cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Monday.
PNP Chief Gen. Archie Gamboa said the lockdown of training facilities — like the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) and the National Police Training Institute (NPTI) — may be done to avoid further contamination.
However, he later on clarified that their decision would depend on the views of health experts from the Department of Health (DOH)
“The PNP is seriously considering the temporary lockdown of all our training facilities including PNPA, NPTI, and all its regional training schools to ensure the safety and protection of cadets and trainees in these facilities,” he explained during a press briefing at Camp Crame in Quezon City.
“Kailangan talaga ng assessment ng experts no, you just do not execute something, kasi we also have to balance, it might create panic or we might be overreacting. So dapat, evidence-based kumbaga. Kung ni-recommend ng (DOH) that it is necessary, then we will do so, but only upon careful study,” he added.
(This step really needs to be assessed by experts, you cannot just execute something because we also have to balance, it might create panic or we might be overreacting. We should base it on evidence, if the DOH recommends that the lockdown is necessary, then we will do so, but only upon careful study.)
Aside from closing camps, Gamboa has directed PNP units and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) to help monitor prices of face masks, especially as supplies have run low since DOH confirmed the first case of the 2019-nCoV last Thursday.
He also noted that police officers are not yet ordered to wear face masks all the time, as it would be costly to supply the 205,000-strong police force face masks daily. However, Gamboa reminded people to use disinfectants placed inside police stations and camps.
“The CIDG and local PNP units are directed to assist DTI and LGUs in monitoring market activities to identify establishments and traders engaged in hoarding and profiteering of medical supplies, such as face masks and disinfectants,” he noted.
“Ang directive naman namin dito is gagamitin natin ‘yung face mask on need basis. Ang guidance ng (DOH) is places of convergence, ‘yong maraming tao. So it will really be upon the discretion of the local commanders to determine when to use it or not,” he added.
(Our directive is that the face masks would be used only when needed. DOH’s guidelines is to use it in places of convergence, or in crowded areas. So it will really be upon the discretion of the local commanders to determine when to use it or not.)
DOH has confirmed two cases of the 2019-nCoV in the Philippines — one of whom has already died, making it the first death recorded outside China. Earlier, health authorities said that 80 individuals are now considered patients under investigation (PUIs), after manifesting symptoms linked to the ailment.
READ: BREAKING: 80 patients now under investigation for new coronavirus – DOH
The 2019-nCoV, the latest strain of the coronavirus that is often compared to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, originated from Wuhan, China. As of Monday, there are more than 17,000 people infected, with 361 already dead.
PNP earlier activated its Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives (CBRNE) team to assist government efforts against the 2019-nCoV, including the repatriation of Filipinos staying in China.
READ: PNP’s chemical warfare team deployed to assist gov’t vs new coronavirus
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