Soldier manning checkpoint now under monitoring for coronavirus

Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo

A SOLDIER assigned to man a border in the northern part of Metro Manila is now considered as a person under monitoring (PUM) for coronavirus disease (Covid-19), a military official said on Monday, March 23.

Philippine Army spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala said the soldier was immediately pulled out from the site after he developed a fever.

However, he said the fever has subsided.

Philippine Army Chief Gilbert Gapay said the soldier may just have been exhausted. He will, however, remain under monitoring.

"Actually, we have one na nilagnat. Ano pa naman, it's under monitoring baka naman sa pagod din ng ating tropa... it's considered as PUM ngayon. Isang sundalo sa checkpoint sa North of Metro Manila," Gapay said.

He said the Army’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear response units were deployed at the border checkpoints to decontaminate the area after every shift.

"We've been using this unang una for decontamination... actually to protect our frontliners particularly those manning our enhanced community quarantine stations," he said.

For its part, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has ensured that personnel assigned at the checkpoints were being rotated efficiently to assure they are in good health condition and will not experience overfatigue.

“We also have to take care of our men because when they go home after the duty, they also have families to protect from Covid-19,” Joint Task Force Coronavirus Shield (CV Shield) commander, Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar, said in a telephone interview.

“The guidance of our Chief PNP (Gen. Archie Gamboa) is for all our men to be distributed with adequate food, ensure that they are protected through protective gears and regularly check their health condition because these are the most that we can do for their service to the Filipino people in this time of crisis,” he added.

He said a seven-man team was also dispatched to disinfect, using motorized backpack sprayer, the community quarantine stations.

So far, Eleazar said they have not monitored any case of any policeman being infected by the virus as a result of their duty on the front line.

The entire Luzon has been placed under enhanced community quarantine in a bid to combat the spread of the Covid-19.

Under the enhanced community quarantine public transport systems are suspended, food and health services are regulated and more uniformed men are deployed in the entry and exit points of each town or municipality.

People are supposed to stay at home. Only authorized persons are allowed to get past border controls. (SunStar Philippines)