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QC gov't confirms 82 cops tested positive for COVID-19

Philstar.com
QC gov't confirms 82 cops tested positive for COVID-19
Police barricade the highway as protesters march along Commonwealth Avenue before President Rodrigo Duterte's sixth and final State of the Nation Address on Monday, July 26.
Philstar.com / Deejae Dumlao

MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City local government confirmed that 82 police officers of the Quezon City Police District-Station 3 in Talipapa, Novaliches tested positive for COVID-19. 

The officers were tested on Friday, July 23, under the city's free routine testing of its frontliners. They have since been admitted to the city’s Hope facilities. 

In a statement, City Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit chief Rolando Cruz said that out of the 161 total personnel assigned to Station 3 who were tested, 79 individuals tested negative.

“The first 48 positive cases were already admitted to several of our HOPE facilities last night, July 27. The other 34 will be admitted today,” Cruz said, adding that all positive cases were asymptomatic and have already been fully vaccinated.

The 82 who tested positive were designated to Police Station 3 in Talipapa, Police Community Precinct 1 in Unang Sigaw, and Police Community Precinct 2 in Bahay Toro.

The CESU is currently investigating the communities near and around the precincts mentioned to determine if granular lockdowns are necessary given that the source and extent of infection has yet to be identified.

Police Lt. Col. Cristine Tabdi, Police Station 3 Commander, said the station will remain operational to receive reports or complaints in an outdoor receiving area but will be restricted to the public. 

She vowed to investigate how this outbreak occurred in her station, which has since prohibited all visits. 

The QCPD is also verifying if any of the 82 police officers were deployed to the State of the Nation Address on Monday.

READ: Belmonte to QCPD: Explain blocking SONA protesters

Per health protocols, all persons awaiting results from swabbing must undergo mandatory quarantine. Any lapses are subject to violations of the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act. 

“The city government is prepared to contain the spread of the virus. Our CESU has the capability to deal with this situation,” Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said for her part.

"We request the public not to panic, especially the communities in which the precincts where these police personnel were assigned. We are appealing to anyone who is experiencing symptoms to please call 122 and inform CESU immediately."

The mayor also directed all 16 station commanders in the district to ensure minimum health protocols are practiced by their personnel.

PNP to Metro Manila police: Be vigilant against mass gatherings

In a separate statement, Police Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, PNP chief reminded National Capital Region Police Office personnel to strictly enforce quarantine rules and be vigilant against social gatherings amid the threat of the COVID-19 Delta variant. 

This as independent research group OCTA warned the public against taking part in social gatherings amid the spike in cases of the more infectious variant of the coronavirus.

“I am directing police commanders to be more vigilant in preventing the occurrence of social gatherings, which may be considered super spreader events that could lead to a high transmission rate of COVID-19,” Eleazar said. 

Eleazar said the PNP awaits the national government’s decision on the possible implementation of a “circuit-breaker” or a two-week lockdown in Metro Manila. 

“We will wait for a decision from the IATF on whether they will implement this circuit-breaker lockdown. The decision on this matter is in their hands and depends on the suggestions and recommendations of the experts,” Eleazar said in Filipino.

"In the more than a year we have been fighting the threat of COVID-19, so many of our compatriots are still being visited and arrested for various types of violations of health safety protocols."

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has agreed with the recommendation to implement "circuit breakers" amid the local transmission of the Delta variant but said that it would still be tackled by the IATF. 

So far, the Philippines has recorded a total of 119 cases of the Delta variant.

The Duterte administration continues to bank on police forces to enforce quarantine rules and curfews, which critics say is an unscientific and militaristic response to a health issue.

"Not once did [the president] listen to science. He did not heed calls for free mass testing, more efficient contact tracing, faster vaccine rollout, and local production of test kits and vaccines," Advocates of Science and Technology for the People said Monday. 

Despite the already-congested holding areas and jails, the PNP detained thousands over supposed quarantine violations earlier in the community quarantines. 

RELATED: PNP to detain violators for up to 12 hours but will provide face masks

“It is unfortunate that despite repeated explanations and reports on the impact of COVID-19, it still leads to arrests and arrests that can be avoided if everyone just takes precautions and follows the rules for our own safety and respect for the right of our fellow human beings not to be infected,” Eleazar said again Wednesday.

“But our police have remained alert in the implementation of the minimum public health safey protocol and we continue to liaise with the IATF and local governments on any adjustments in its implementation."

— Franco Luna 

 

 

Disclosure: Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte is a shareholder of Philstar Global Corp., which operates digital news outlet Philstar.com. This article was produced following editorial guidelines.

COVID-19 LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNITS PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE PNP QCPD QUEZON CITY POLICE DISTRICT
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