Number of cops suspected with COVID-19 increasing
A total of 14 PNP personnel have tested positive for COVID-19, including two policemen who have died after battling the infectious disease.
Edd Gumban/File

Number of cops suspected with COVID-19 increasing

Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - April 6, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The number of police officers suspected to be infected with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is increasing, as the Philippine National Police (PNP) is experiencing a dwindling supply of protective gear for its personnel.

A total of 14 PNP personnel have tested positive for COVID-19, including two policemen who have died after battling the infectious disease.

The latest case is that of a non-uniformed staff member, a 63-year-old woman assigned in Central Luzon, PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said over the weekend.

Twenty-eight police officers were added to the list of patients under investigation (PUIs), which brought the number of police personnel showing symptoms of the virus to 239.

Meanwhile, there are now 1,620 PNP personnel categorized as persons under monitoring (PUMs), or those who had contact with COVID-19 positive patients, with the addition of 20 cases.

“They are all under strict quarantine at home isolation so they may be monitored by our health doctors,” Banac said in Filipino in an interview over dzBB.

While they still have enough personal protective equipment (PPE), Banac admitted they might experience a supply shortage in the future.

“This won’t last. We still need additional supplies,” he said.

When asked for the number of protective gear in the PNP’s possession, Banac said in a text message they are waiting for a consolidated report from their field units.

Some police officers are now using reusable face masks to save on the supply of disposable surgical masks which are most needed by frontline healthcare workers.

Banac lauded individuals and non-governmental organizations which have been donating face masks and other protective equipment for their personnel.

“Thank you to everyone that has continuously been donating,” he said.

Meanwhile, at least 400 firefighters of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) are under quarantine for possible COVID-19 infection.

Data from the BFP showed that 49 BFP personnel, 26 of them in Metro Manila, are listed as PUIs after exhibiting symptoms of the infectious disease.

The other 23 are assigned in other regions across the country.

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