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PNP comes down with COVID-19

NON-STOP work and meetings have taken its toll on Philippine National Police chief General Debold M. Sinas who was confirmed to have contracted the COVID-19 virus and went on isolation at the Kiangan treatment facility in Camp Crame on Thursday night.

While in isolation, the 55-year-old Gen. Sinas designated PNP Deputy Chief for Administration and concurrent commander of the Administrative Support for Joint COVID-19 Task Force Lieutenant Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar as PNP Officer-in-Charge.

Eleazar, a classmate from Philippine Military Academy ‘Hinirang’ Class of 1987 of Gen. Sinas said he will be performing his duty under the full guidance of the PNP chief.

According to Gen. Sinas, his last RT-PCR swab test on Thursday morning conducted by the PNP Health Service showed he was positive for the virus and he needed to undergo a medical assessment immediately since he was found to be asymptomatic.

The PNP chief’s swab tests last March 6 and 9 showed he was negative for the virus.

PNP doctors said Gen. Sinas may have contracted the virus in the last 24-48 hours only prior to last Thursday’s test. However, the infection was detected early and may not be contagious yet.

Nevertheless the PNP chief went into isolation at the Kiangan facility for safety reasons and asked officers who have direct contact with him in the last 24-hours to undergo an RT-PCR test too.

He also said that people wearing face masks and shields and continuously using alcohol and other disinfectants remain to be ‘low-risk persons’ or individuals who are the least to get the virus unlike those who are not practicing the minimum safety protocol as well as social distancing.

PNP spokesperson Brigadier Gen. Ildebrandi N. Usana said Gen. Sinas is okay and there is no cause for worry. However, he called on the public to offer their prayers for the immediate and full recovery of the top cop who is known for his very tiring work habit including holding command conferences with his men for 7-9 hours.

As of Thursday, there were already a total of 12,00 police personnel who have contracted the virus since March last year although 11,217 of them have fully recovered from the disease and are now back in full duty status.

Since last year, 32 policemen have passed away after getting the virus. PNP Health Service director, Brigadier Gen. Luisito P. Magnaye said they recorded 105 new recoveries on Thursday.

However, PNP-HS National Capital Region chief, Colonel Ma. Nenita de Leon said they have recorded an “exponential surge of COVID-19 cases and many of whom have symptoms.”

“In this regard we are appealing to all personnel with any of the following possible symptoms: fever, cough, fatigue, sore throat, loss of taste and smell to immediately isolate and report to the Station Health Unit/District Health Unit/Regional Health Service for proper disposition,” she said.

“Early recognition prevents spread and progression to severe COVID-19 cases. We have seen personnel who have symptoms but did not consult until they suddenly developed difficulty of breathing, which we do not want to happen,” the official added.

De Leon said police personnel may contact the following Regional and District Health Service hotlines in case they develop any symptoms mentioned above.

NPDHS HOTLINE – 09663140212; EPDHS HOTLINE – 09663151588;

MPDHS HOTLINE – 09065982674; SPDHS HOTLINE – 09617337754; QCPDHS HOTLINE – 09959540408; RHS NCRPO HOTLINE – 09562817917.

Officer-in-charge

Lt. Gen. Eleazar called on all members of the police force and the rest of the general public to continue complying with all government health protocols to stop the spread of the virus in the wake of recent development in Camp Crame.

“Following the unfortunate incident wherein our Chief PNP, General Debold M. Sinas, tested positive for coronavirus, I was designated as the OIC, PNP as a matter of protocol.

“As OIC PNP, I will be taking over the affairs of the PNP temporarily and until such time that our Chief PNP fully recovers. Right now, the Chief PNP is doing well and I am in constant communication with him for consultation especially on matters that require his attention and guidance,” he said.

“On behalf of the men and women of the PNP, I pray for the full recovery of my mistah in the soonest possible time,.” Gen. Eleazar said.

Amid this development, the PNP leadership renews call for members of the organization and the general public to continue strictly observing health safety protocols. The threat of coronavirus remains and in fact we have been observing an upsurge of COVID-19 cases in the past days as reported by the DOH. Thus, we should all be vigilant for our protection, and for the protection of our families,” Eleazar said.

Publication Source :    People's Journal
Alfred P. Dalizon
Author of the ‘Mamang Pulis’ series and Crame Files | A Journal Group reporter since 1988 and recipient of dozens of national awards from the PNP/DILG/PDEA/DDB/NAPOLCOM and the private sector | Winner of two (2) prestigious Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA) for Best Investigative Report | A Finalist for another CMMA Best Investigative Report | A 3-time Journal Group Employee and Top Reporter of the Year