QC police camp on lockdown
MANILA, Philippines — Camp Karingal, the headquarters of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD), has been placed on lockdown after 13 policemen and a soldier tested positive for the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) confirmed on Monday.
The closure started as early as 5 p.m. on Saturday and Police Maj. Britz Estadilla, the NCRPO spokesperson, told the Inquirer that the QCPD health office was still evaluating whether an extension was needed.
The police camp, a sprawling complex tucked behind food hub Maginhawa Street, will undergo decontamination in the meantime, with no one allowed to go in or out.
The lockdown was enforced after the first batch of personnel underwent testing for COVID-19 between April 25 and 29. Of the 219 who were tested — 14 percent of the police camp’s population — 14 have so far been found positive for the virus while 101 others were negative. The results for the remaining 104 tests have yet to be released.
One of the confirmed COVID-19 cases was a soldier with the Joint Task Force-National Capital Region, a support unit for QCPD, according to the NCRPO. The rest were Quezon City policemen, 10 of whom operated from Camp Karingal, while the other three were assigned at QCPD community precincts.
Estadilla said that those who were tested had been recommended by their health office, and were typically front-liners, whether or not they showed symptoms.
On the other hand, those who tested positive had been tasked with enforcing the enhanced community quarantine, particularly at police checkpoints — an alarming prospect given the sheer number of both fellow officers and members of the public they interacted with on a daily basis.
“[The lockdown] was deemed necessary to immediately conduct preventive measures and reactionary protocol to ensure that the virus would not thrive and infect more of our front-line workers,” the NCRPO said.
It added that “intensive contact tracing” was immediately initiated to locate those who had been in close contact with the 13 QCPD personnel, who were now in an isolated NCRPO facility at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City. Those who had direct contact with them would also be placed under quarantine at the Special Care Facility, police said.
The NCRPO said it would assess the status of the 104 remaining personnel who were subjected to testing to determine whether they too should be isolated.
According to the NCRPO, the QCPD director, Police Brig. Gen. Ronnie Montejo, had tested negative for COVID-19 and was temporarily working at the QCPD Police Station 10, which is located in Kamuning.
As of May 10, there were 53 confirmed COVID-19 cases among the ranks of the NCRPO. There have been no deaths, however, while nine have recovered. Only two, meanwhile, are hospitalized.
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