MANILA – The death toll due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the police force has reached eight (8) as another cop in Cebu died of the disease.

“I think the last victim came from Cebu and I think just last week, bringing the casualties to eight already… the last three are all coming from Cebu,” Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Gen. Archie Gamboa told reporters in a press briefing on Monday.

As of Sunday evening, the number of cops infected with Covid-19 across the country has increased to 499. Of this number, 288 have already recovered while the PNP Health Service is currently monitoring 661 probable cases and 875 suspect cases.

Gamboa said more than 100 of the Covid-19 cases among cops came from Central Visayas.

“I think there are 122 (cops) who are positive sa (in) Cebu… masyado nang marami (that is already too many) that’s why we are putting up our RT/PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) testing facility there,” Gamboa said.

Currently, the PNP is seeking the approval of the Department of Health regarding a suitable site for the proposed testing laboratory in Central Visayas.

Gamboa mobilized the PNP Command Group through PNP Deputy Chief for Administration Lt. Gen. Camilo Cascolan, head of the Administrative Support to Covid-19 Operations Task Force (ASCOTF), to fast-track the construction of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) laboratory in Central Visayas.

“It is in protecting our own PNP personnel that we are able to protect the Filipino people better,” Gamboa said.

On May 26, the PNP opened its first RT-PCR laboratory at Camp Crame in Quezon City. The facility has 150 testing capacity per day.

Cebu City has been reverted to enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) upon recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) following a recent spike in Covid-19 cases in the city

Gamboa earlier said 100 policemen would be sent to Cebu City to assist in the enforcement of enhanced community quarantine in the area.

He has tasked the regional health services in Western and Eastern Visayas to make sure that the cops who will be deployed have undergone mandatory health checks.

“Of course, the first challenge is due to the rising number of infections, how you’re going to manage with the limited human resources that you have and in addition, with the advent and threat of Covid-19. That’s why we sent 100 additional troops coming from Region 6 and Region 8 who are actually there in Cebu, they are there to help out,” he added. (IA/PNA)

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