PNP opens new COVID-19 lab with cases among personnel now at 7,097
In this May 3, 2020, photo, PNP-SAF officers are seen enforcing a hard lockdown in Tondo, Manila.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman
PNP opens new COVID-19 lab with cases among personnel now at 7,097
Christian Deiparine ( - October 29, 2020 - 5:06pm

MANILA, Philippines — The country's police force on Thursday opened its second testing laboratory for the coronavirus, as infections among cops reach nearly 7,100, almost eight months since they were tasked to carry out lockdowns as part of government's response to an ongoing health crisis. 

PNP said the molecular laboratory in its general hospital at Camp Crame began operations today that could initially test 90 samples a day. 

By mid-November, the facility will have two runs a day that could then test up to 150 specimens of cops. 

"[The] molecular laboratory will collect and process specimens from PNP personnel and their dependents and from patients under emergency and hospital care," a release provided by the police force said. 

President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to put the PNP and the military in-charge of imposing the COVID-19 lockdown he ordered in March had earned criticism from groups as well as those in the medical field that government is militarizing its response to a public health crisis. 

Infections among its personnel have grown since then, with latest figures showing 7,097 confirmed cases as of October 28. 

Most of Wednesday's newly reported cases came from the national capital region police, as well as from the PNP's headquarters. Deaths have reached 22 so far, with 6,532 recoveries. 

The government, in a bid to revive the economy, had eased more restrictions in Metro Manila and in various parts of the country this month, such as increasing capacity in business establishments, churches as well as in public transport. 

More police had been tasked to patrol, especially in business districts to help local governments ensure that people are complying with health protocols set by government in public. — with reports from Franco Luna

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