Photo shows Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas taking a swab test on May 30, 2020 to check for possible novel coronavirus transmission.
Release/Marikina PIO
PNP credits 'intensified mass testing' for recovery of cops with COVID-19
Franco Luna ( - June 3, 2020 - 5:17pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police reported significant strides in the fight against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) among its ranks, owing to "intensified" mass testing, its chief said Wednesday. 

According to Police Gen. Archie Gamboa, PNP chief, the national police posted a 50.9% recovery rate with 176 out of the 346 recorded COVID-19 cases having recovered. 

Of these, 148 are in quarantine facilities, two are receiving care in hospitals, and 16 are on home quarantine. Four have passed away. 

In a statement issued Wednesday, Gamboa said: “We attribute this high recovery rate to our intensified mass testing among our police personnel, including extensive contact tracing and treatment of confirmed cases as well as isolation of suspected cases."

Gamboa also disclosed that the PNP's health service also documented 675 probable persons under investigation and 717 suspected PUIs within the PNP.

Over the weekend Police Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas—who earlier received flak for a birthday gathering despite quarantine rules — took a second round of COVID-19 swab tests at Camp Caringal along with other ranking NCRPO officials.

This was part of a "preventive measure" against the disease, according to Police Brig. Gen. Ronnie Montejo, Quezon City Police District director. 

'We can't test everyone'

The government's rejection of the term "mass testing" — claiming incorrectly that it means testing everyone — has contributed to public outcry over the national government's response to the global pandemic after over two months of enhanced community quarantine. 

From containing the disease to the lack of public transportation, government agencies have emphasized the need individual discipline and cooperation to flatten the curve of the new pathogen—despite President Rodrigo Duterte already holding sweeping special powers. 

READ: Government banks on 'discipline' as likely shift to GCQ nears | Palace: Don't say 'mass testing', we can't test everybody

Government officials have said on separate occasions that the responsibility of organizing shuttles for workers as well as testing them before they go back to work, would rest on employers.

Experts from the academe to the World Health Organization have highlighted the need for comprehensive mass testing paired with contact tracing. The WHO has pointed out the "slow" contact tracing efforts—which are led by the national police—in the country. 

Even companies in the private sector have sounded off against reports of what they called government officials "violating with impunity" quarantine rules set to curb the spread of the virus.

As of this publishing, the new pathogen has infected 18,997 patients in the Philippines. Wednesday marks the third day of general community quarantine in Metro Manila sans mass testing and, according to the PNP itself, adequate mass transportation.

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