PHILIPPINE National Police chief, General Debold M. Sinas yesterday said they are fully coordinating with the Department of Health (DOH) to build more quarantine and treatment facilities for police personnel who have contracted the COVID-19 virus while in the performance of their duties.
As of Sunday, there have been a total of 26 COVID-19-related deaths in the police force, the 26tth fatality described as a 62-year-old male non-uniformed personnel of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG).
Since last March 16, the PNP Health Service now headed by Brigadier Gen. Nolasco K. Bathan said there have been a total of 8,045 police personnel who got afflicted with the virus although 7,637 of them have fully recovered from sickness and are now back to full duty status.
PNP-HS medical personnel are also monitoring 382 ‘active COVID-19 cases’ in the organization as of present.
Sinas said they are preparing for the new normal in which police can return to their daily physical exercises without compromising their health. Last week, police started demolishing a quarantine facility built at Camp Crame’s oval so that it can be used again for physical activities.
The area which used to be the PNP national headquarters’ main parade ground was temporarily closed to public to give way to the facility built to house police personnel with suspected COVID-19.
The facility has been transferred to the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) headquarters in Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig City.
Sinas said that except for the quarantine facility at Camp Crame’s Kiangan Billeting Center, he has ordered the transfer of all similar facilities outside the PNP national headquarters.
He added that the NICE Hotel with its 100-bed capacity has been designated by the government as a quarantine facility for policemen who have contracted the killer virus but have been described as asymptomatic. Kiangan Hall will accommodate police personnel showing symptoms of the virus.
“My intention is to remove all quarantine facilities inside Camp Crame except those in Kiangan. I’m also encouraging our personnel to exercise at the parade grounds while observing minimum health protocols like wearing of face masks and face shields. They can do jogging and walking but we don’t want a return of the Pulisteniks due to social distancing measures,” the PNP chief said.
Last week, Sinas opened their testing laboratory in Cebu City which would serve members of the Police Regional Offices 6,7 and 8. He said he is also set to open their own lab in Davao City which will serve members of the PRO11. “We’re just waiting for the lab technicians to graduate and be certified by the DOH,” he said.
The PNP chief also ordered the renewed monitoring of the Body Mass Index (BMI) of police personnel as a preventive measure against the Covid-19. He said they are requiring a four-minute exercise for all PNP personnel which should be done twice a day, in the morning and in the afternoon.
“It was suspended (the monitoring of BMI) because of COVID-19. Now, I talked with the new DHRDD (Directorate for Human Resource Doctrine Development) chief because obesity causes diabetes, heart disease which are comorbidities for COVID-19,” he noted.
BMI depends on a person’s height. A high BMI can indicate high body fatness which may lead to health problems although studies show that is not diagnostic of the body fatness or health of an individual.