All freshman cadets from the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) will be tested for COVID-19 following the deaths of two of its students, Philippine National Police Chief General Archie Gamboa said today in a media briefing.
“Because we lost two cadets…I told the PNPA to suspend all training and then all of them will undergo RT-PCR [tests], 350 [cadets] plus the training staff probably 20 of them,” he said.
“I don’t want to discount the possibility that there are [coronavirus] infections in the training camps because of other experiences abroad. Because of course, they are all together, they talk, they scream. Some [of] their [saliva] fly off,” Gamboa said.
He added that the police would also reconsider the quality of protective gear and masks given to the cadets.
“There’s a possibility that if one were infected [with COVID-19], all of them will get the infection,” he said.
Gamboa’s decision comes after the death of Cadet Fourth Class Kenneth Ross Alvarado, who collapsed and died of heatstroke during formation on Wednesday last week. Three days later, Cadet Fourth Class Jiary Jasen Papa died reportedly due to low potassium intake.
General Gamboa doesn’t think that the two died due to extreme exhaustion from training.
“I think, you know we were talking earlier about how light their exercises [during training] are. They are averaging 1.3 kilometers per day, that’s the most strenuous running they need to do,” he said.
“I don’t know what happened, but I am don’t think there are any lapses with the health protocol. But again, we still need to review it and really find out from the findings why those two really died,” the police chief said.
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