PNP probes possible hoarding of oxygen tanks, medical supplies 

PNP probes possible hoarding of oxygen tanks, medical supplies 
Cebu City residents are seen buying oxygen tanks in this August 2, 2021 photo. The city is dealing with a new surge in coronavirus cases and has appealed for help amid the lack of medical personnel.
The Freeman / Romeo Marantal and Decemay Padilla

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police said Wednesday it will investigate the possible hoarding of oxygen tanks and medical supplies as the country faces the threat of the highly infectious Delta variant of COVID-19. 

Police Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, chief of the PNP, gave the said order after the call by Cebu City Vice Mayor Michael Rama to police and the Department of Trade and Industry. 

“I have directed the Cebu City Police and the Regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Group to closely coordinate with the DTI office in the area and look into this report of hoarding,” Eleazar said. 

Cebu City is battling a new surge in coronavirus infections and has sought help amid a lack of medical personnel, per The Freeman. 

Photos by the local paper last Monday showed residents there flocking to suppliers of oxygen tanks, with prices in one store ranging from P3,500 up to P8,950.

The Freeman, citing a city councilor, said people were buying the tanks for family members who could no longer be admitted to hospitals. 

It followed as some patients also in Cebu City were seen waiting outside a private medical facility to be accommodated on August 1. 

LOOK: Patients are seen outside with oxygen tanks; wait to be accommodated at a private hospital in Cebu City Sunday | via Romeo Marantal and Aldo Banaynal #TheFreeman102

Posted by The Freeman on Sunday, 1 August 2021

Eleazar said he has tasked cops in Metro Manila to be vigilant against possible incidents similar to that in Cebu City.

"We need the enough supply of oxygen tanks now more than ever as COVID-19 cases are going up also because of the Delta variant," he said in Filipino. 

On Tuesday, the Department of Health said the impact of the more infectious variant is now being felt on a national level. 

Nine cities in the capital region have confirmed Delta cases, accounting for 47 of the country's 216 total to date. 

DOH has also reclassified Metro Manila as a "high-risk" area for COVID-19, a month after downgrading it to "low-risk."

The capital region, home to 13.4 million people, will revert to enhanced community quarantine from August 6 to 20.

"Our situation right now is no joke," Eleazar added in Filipino. "There are lives depending on this. What we need now is unity to help prevent COVID-19 cases in the country from going up."

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