By Martin Sadongdong
The Philippine Army (PA) conducted an information drive on the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019 nCoV ARD) to the soldiers assigned at the Army headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City on Wednesday.
Colonel Ramon Zagala, Army spokesperson, said the Office of the Army Chief Surgeon (OACS) facilitated the novel coronavirus information drive in line with the health advisory issued by the Department of Health on January 22.
According to Executive Order No. 168, s. 2014 (Creating the Inter-Agency Task Force for the management of emerging infectious diseases in the Philippines), the DOH recommends the enlistment of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to supplement the Philippine National Police in enforcing the quarantine of specific areas or facilitating the transport of Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) patients when the need arises.
“It (information drive) focused on raising the troop’s awareness on the threat level of the virus in the country, how to recognized symptoms, and the best practices to avoid contracting the disease,” Zagala said.
Captain Ramius Dizon, of the OACS-Medical Corps, said the information drive was also aimed at easing public fears on the deadly respiratory disease.
“Aside from informing our troops about the novel coronavirus, we also wanted to lessen the panic of the public. We want to avoid a public reaction which is disproportionate to the level of threat that we are currently facing,” Dizon said.
Zagala said that due to the nature of their work, uniformed personnel have always been encouraged to maintain their good health so they can best perform in their missions.
He stated that the Philippine Army was also taking necessary measures to ensure its readiness to respond to the situation if it becomes worse.
“We want to ensure that our personnel know how to protect themselves from the virus and prevent its spread because they have a very important role in security that requires them to be ready to serve 24/7,” Zagala said.
In the Philippines, at least three persons have already acquired the virus, one of them have died, marking the first nCoV-related death outside China where it originated and infected hundreds to thousands.
At least 133 persons under investigation (PUIs) were being monitored for possible nCoV infection, the Health department said Wednesday.