PNP halts travels, leaves of personnel amid perils of COVID-19
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) leadership has barred its personnel from making trips abroad, especially in countries hit by COVID-19.
PNP acting spokesperson Maj. Gen. Benigno Durana Jr. on Tuesday read a statement from PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa, who convened a meeting earlier on the police force’s preparation and action to combat the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that first emerged in China’s city of Wuhan in Hubei province in late 2019.
“On the instruction of Police General Archie Francisco Gamboa, the Philippine National Police has suspended the processing of foreign travel authority to travel abroad for official functions, in the light of latest developments on the COVID-19 situation in the country,” Durana told reporters in an ambush interview.
Also, he added: “All leave applications that have been processed by the Directorate for Personnel and Records Management are put on hold.”
Durana then revealed that three of the four PNP personnel being monitored by the PNP’s Health Service has shown symptoms of COVID-19 while the other one remains asymptomatic.
Earlier, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) announced that four of its personnel – supposedly different from the police officers mentioned by Durana – have been asked to do self-quarantine for possible exposure to COVID-19.
“At present, the PNP Health Service is monitoring the condition of three personnel and one dependent of PNP personnel who are now under home quarantine, three of whom have exhibited symptoms while one was asymptomatic. Two of the four persons under monitoring have travel history to Tokyo, Japan,” Durana said.
According to NCRPO chief Police Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas, the four NCRPO personnel include two non-uniformed personnel who just came back from Japan, a police officer who visited the Muslim prayer room in Greenhills, San Juan, and another from the Southern Police District (SPD) whose wife recently made a trip abroad.
Japan has one of the highest COVID-19 cases in Asia, with 514 incidents and nine deaths. On the other hand, the country’s fifth COVID-19 case, a 62-year-old man, was noted to have frequented the Muslim prayer hall in Barangay Greenhills.
President Rodrigo Duterte also announced on Monday that one of the country’s COVID-19 cases resides in Barangay West Crame in Quezon City – a community that covers the PNP headquarters.
Due to these developments, Durana said the PNP’s Headquarters Support Service has decided to close Camp Crame’s Gate 4, which is nearest to Greenhills.
“The Headquarters Support Service has temporarily closed Gate 4 of Camp Crame. All scheduled events and activities at the PNP Multipurpose Center will continue but will be closely monitored by medical personnel,” Durana explained.
As of Tuesday morning, there are 112,747 cases and 4,009 deaths – mostly in China – due to COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, which the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses named SARS-CoV-2.
To date, the Philippines has 35 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as infection of 11 more individuals were confirmed by the health department on Tuesday afternoon.
Less than 12 hours earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte said four new cases have been confirmed, bringing the tally to 24 from the previous 20 cases reported by DOH on Monday afternoon.
Duterte has already placed the entire country under state of public health emergency as dangers posed by the coronavirus persist. He also suspended classes in Metro Manila from March 10 to 14.
Coronavirus is a family of viruses, which surfaces have a crown-like appearance. The viruses are named for the spikes on their surfaces.
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