PNP on 'high readiness mode' amid 2019-nCoV threat

Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo

THE Philippine National Police (PNP) is helping the Department of Health monitor the major entry points in the country following the confirmation of the first case of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the country.

PNP spokesperson Brigadier General Bernard Banac said in a statement Thursday, January 30, 2020, that local police units were ordered to go on “high readiness mode” to be able to immediately help track down individuals who may have “recklessly circumvented quarantine protocol imposed by health authorities.”

Authorities are now tracking down individuals who came into contact with a 38-year-old Chinese woman from Wuhan, China who has tested positive for the 2019-nCoV.

“The PNP under Police General Archie Francisco Gamboa will assist the DOH in the monitoring of major entry points in the country. The PNP Health Service has established a direct line of communication with the DOH for lateral implementation of public health measures,” Banac said.

“We have the PNP Maritime Group and the PNP Aviation Security Group now on standby that can be mobilized upon receipt of advisory or guidance from the DOH if police assistance is required,” he added.

Banac, however, appealed for calm and urged the public to stay informed.

“We assure the public that the PNP remains alert and vigilant to ensure public order and safety; and prevent criminal elements from taking advantage of the situation,” said Banac.

DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III, in a press conference Thursday afternoon, announced the first case of 2019-nCoV in the country.

The woman from Wuhan, the epicenter of the 2019-nCoV outbreak, is admitted in a hospital and is asymptomatic.

She arrived in the country on January 21 and had reportedly gone to Cebu and Dumaguete.

Results of laboratory tests on her throat and nasopharyngeal swabs arrived Thursday from the Victorian Infectious Disease Reference Laboratory in Melbourne, Australia. (SunStar Philippines)