Commanders and unit heads were told to conduct surprise inspections in police stations

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To ensure compliance of police personnel on minimum health safety protocols, police commanders and heads of various police units were instructed to conduct surprise inspections in their respective offices.

These were the orders of Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief, Police General Debold Sinas to Police Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar, PNP Deputy Chief for Administration and concurrent commander of the Administrative Support on COVID-19 Task Force (ASCOTF).

Gen. Sinas said the order is part of the efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 in police camps and other offices amid the upsurge of new cases in the country.

Lt. Gen. Eleazar said even the PNP is experiencing a continuous increase in COVID-19 cases. He noted that the police have been recording more than 100 cases every day since Monday, March 15.

On March 24, for instance, the PNP has recorded the highest new cases in a day with 229. PNP data showed 13,666 PNP personnel have been infected by the coronavirus since last year, with 36 reported deaths and 1,649 active cases. All the rest were able to fully recover.

The 229 reported cases yesterday were the highest reported in a day, but the actual tests were from different dates which include late reports,” said Lt. Gen. Eleazar.

Of the 229 reported new cases, 65 of those infected were assigned at the National Headquarters at Camp Crame in Quezon City, 73 were assigned in various units outside the NHQ but inside Metro Manila, and the rest, or 91, were assigned in various units across the country.

The upsurge in COVID-19 cases in the PNP is consistent with both our analysis and that of health experts. As part of the general population, the PNP is also experiencing upsurge of cases especially that we are frontliners,” said Lt. Gen. Eleazar.

He, however, said that there are interventions that were already approved to contain the spread of the virus in the organization, the latest of which was to order police commanders, unit heads and heads of offices to conduct surprise inspection.

Lt. Gen. Eleazar said the purpose is to ensure that all personnel are complying with the memorandum that all PNP personnel must wear both a face mask and a face shield inside the police camps, police stations, and even inside the offices.

The wearing of both the face mask and the face shield has been repeatedly proven to be effective in preventing infection. That is why this must be strictly observed. Those who would be caught defying this order would be dealt with accordingly,” said Lt. Gen. Eleazar.

Currently, the PNP is implementing a policy on contact-tracing wherein it classifies those who make close contact with COVID-19 personnel into High-Risk Close Contact and Low-Risk Close Contact.

High-risk contacts are those who were not wearing face mask and face shield and did not observe physical distancing during the time when they made close contact with a COVID-19. High-risk contacts are immediately subjected to mandatory quarantine.

Low-risk contacts, on the other hand, are those who made close contact with a COVID-19 positive while wearing both a face mask and a face shield and observed physical distancing. They are not subjected to mandatory quarantine and are allowed to report to work but are instructed to strictly observe minimum health safety protocol.

As members of an organization implementing the minimum health safety protocol in the communities, we should serve as a role model by following them ourselves,” said Lt. Gen. Eleazar.

Aside from surprise inspections, other measures now being implemented at the NHQ are the modified work arrangement for PNP civilian employees, reduction in the number of personnel attending activities in the PNP such as flag-raising, and suspension of face-to-face classes for mandatory schooling/training of PNP personnel.

Outside Metro Manila, Lt. Gen. Eleazar said they are giving the Regional Directors, through their respective ASCOTF commanders, the authority to implement anti-COVID measures depending on the situation in their respective areas of responsibility (AOR).

Different regions can have different COVID situations. We leave it up to the regional ASCOTF commanders to assess their respective AORs and implement appropriate interventions based on our established protocols.”

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