Military alert: General, wife test positive for Covid-19

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 novel coronavirus. Health officials hope to avoid stigma and error in naming the virus causing an international outbreak of respiratory illnesses. But some researchers say the current moniker, 2019-nCoV, probably won’t stick in the public’s mind.

A senior military officer and his wife tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Tuesday and are now being treated at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center in Quezon City.

The military official, whom Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Felimon Santos Jr. did not identify, was the first senior member of the military who contracted the virus.

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines, through the V. Luna Medical Center, is treating a senior military officer and spouse who were tested positive for Covid-19,” Santos said in a statement.

The chief of staff said the officer has a history of foreign travel and was admitted at the military’s medical facility, along with his wife, as persons under investigation on March 15.

“They have been undergoing proper medical management with the military officer now being asymptomatic. They will continue medical treatment until fully recovered and strictly following DOH’s [Department of Health] imposed protocol for Covid-19 patients,” Santos said.

The military said it had taken measures and issued specific guidelines to protect all of its personnel, particularly those stationed at its general headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo.

Santos said that since the quarantine was imposed in Metro Manila, only two gates of Camp Aguinaldo have remained open, while additional thermal scanners were used to hasten screening for those entering the camp.

“Protocol from the DOH in preventing and combatting the spread of Covid-19 is being strictly implemented, including intensified contact tracing to ensure the safety of military and civilian personnel in the general headquarters,” Santos said.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Navy and one of its partner-stakeholders donated at least 50 “medical protective coverall,” or “bunny suits,” to the Lung Center of the Philippines following the appeal of one of its physicians for personal protective equipment (PPE) donations.

The PPE, coming from electronic manufacturing company Tsukiden Philippines based in Biñan, Laguna, whom the Navy engaged for the donation upon the order of Navy chief Rear Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo, were picked up and delivered to the hospital by the Navy.

Earlier, Dr. Antonio Ramos of the Lung Center appealed for PPE suits and isolation gown for medical personnel handling Covid-19 patients, saying they use about 80 to 100 suits a day to care for some 40 patients.

“We only have 98 [suits left]. We are seeing at the end of the day [is] we will have nothing,” the doctor pleaded.

Relatedly, Philippine National Police deputy chief for operations Lt. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar said local officials must only impose regulations that have been approved and issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Disease for the Covid-19.

Eleazar, head of the Joint Task Force CV Shield, made the statement during the government’s news briefing “Laging Handa” following complaints that those who are implementing the quarantine are sometimes too strict, or soft.

“Our little challenge on this is the guidelines that are being given by the IATF are being stiffened by some local government units, which in a sense, are going against the basic guidelines,” he said, citing as an example the halting of cargo trucks, whose movement should be unhampered.

The PNP through its spokesman, Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, said it would also intensify its enforcement of the home quarantine and city ordinances, especially against minors, since it continue to register violations of these rules, seven days after the quarantine was imposed.

Image credits: CDC via AP


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