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Police personnel start training in COVID-19 contact tracing

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has started  training its personnel in contact tracing for COVID-19 cases, its spokesperson Police Brigadier General Bernard Banac said on Sunday.

Interviewed on Dobol B sa News TV, Banac said that around 90 personnel of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) from different regions already participated in the program.

“Umaarangkada na ang ating pagtulong sa contact tracing. Pinangungunahan ng ating local government units, ganun na rin ang mga local health official,” Banac said.

“Mayroon na rin tayong naisagawang initial traning. Ito ay pinangunanahan ng ating Contact Tracing Czar, si Mayor Benjamin Magalong ng Baguio City," he added.

These personnel are tasked to train local police personnel in their respective regions, according to Banac.

He noted that local government units and health officials still lead the contact tracing operation in communities and the police will only serve as support.

Banac said the police will only be present in these operations if local governments ask for their help.

Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte tapped again the police to help address the threat of COVID-19.

On Monday, Duterte ordered Interior Secretary Eduardo Año to deploy cops to transport contact tracers to the homes of COVID-19 patients.

“Magpahatid ng kung anong sasakyan diyan sa pulis, doon sila sumakay, ihatid sila ng pulis doon sa boundary. Beyond that, ibang pulis na naman ang magsasalo sa kanila para hanapin ‘yung tao,” Duterte said.

The government was previously criticized for its “highly militarized” response to COVID-19. 

The Philippines on Saturday reported 4,351 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the nationwide total to 157,918, according to the Department of Health.

Total recoveries also rose to 72,209 after 885 more patients have recovered from the illness, while the death toll in the country increased to 2,600 with 159 new fatalities. —Joviland Rita/KG, GMA News