QCPD breached quarantine protocol in deploying cops to Sona duty — DOH
MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) committed a breach of protocol after deploying 51 personnel to ensure peace and order during President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) last Monday, even if they were still supposedly quarantining after taking their COVID-19 test, the Department of Health (DOH) said Thursday.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the personnel of the QCPD Talipapa Station (Station 3) who later turned out positive for coronavirus should have been quarantined first after they went through COVID-19 testing.
“Yes, we will say that there was this breach because we have guidelines for that at alam natin na they should not have been deployed kung hindi pa natin alam ‘yung mga resulta, kung ang objective natin is deploying them to safeguard the event,” she told an online media briefing when asked if the QCPD committed a breach of testing protocol.
(Yes, we will say that they committed a breach of protocol because we have guidelines for that and we know that they should not have been deployed if their test results are not yet out, and if our objective for deploying them is to safeguard the event.)
Vergeire said there is a possibility that the deployment of the policemen was a super spreader event of the virus. However, she said this cannot be confirmed yet since contact tracing is still ongoing.
QCPD director Brig. Gen. Antonio Yarra earlier disclosed that the policemen were tested on July 23, with results coming out on July 27 and 28. President Rodrigo Duterte’s Sona was conducted on July 26. He said they were deployed at “different points” during the event.
Vergeire advised people who came in contact with police officers during the Sona to coordinate with their respective local government units so they can be advised what to do and possibly be tested.
“Hindi kailangan na alam niyo ang pangalan ng mga pulis na ‘yan. Basta alam nyong nakasalamuha niyo kahit na sinong pulis during that event, please go to your local government so we can appropriately guide you and tell you what you are supposed to do,” she said.
(You don’t need to know the names of the police officers. As long as you know you came in contact with any police officer during the event, please go to your local government so we can appropriately guide you and tell you what you are supposed to do.)
She added that it will depend on the contact tracing to be conducted by local government units if the protesters who attended demonstrations during the Sona should be tested.
“Kailangan risk based tayo kapag nagtetest. ‘Yung mga nakasalamuha na mapapatunayan nating nagkaroon ng interaction, itetest natin sila but we cannot do a random testing sa ngayon dahil kailangan muna natin malaman kung sino-sino itong nakapag-interact,” Vergeire explained.
(Testing is done based on risks. Those proven to have interacted with the police officers will be tested but we cannot do a random testing for now because we need to know who actually interacted with them.)
Those who were at the protests and are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 are advised to quarantine themselves even if they have not been tested yet, added Vergeire.
Vergeire also stressed that contact tracing should be done immediately, contrary to what Yarra reportedly said in a briefing that contact tracing for the cases should not be hastened. Yarra said they have not set a timeline for the contact tracing since what is important is for it to be accurate.
“Contact tracing would always be important. Hindi po natin dapat ipinagpapabukas ang contact tracing (We should not delay contact tracing for tomorrow),” Vergeire noted.
PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar has ordered the administrative relief of the QCPD Station 3 commander following the incident.