PMA lockdown mulled as COVID-19 infection count increases

The Philippine Military Academy (PMA) will likely implement a lockdown if the COVID-19 infection within its "bubble" will not be contained, a military spokesperson said Tuesday.

Philippine Military Academy (PMA)

Major General Edgard Arevalo, spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said the number of infected cadets, military personnel, and civilian human resource inside the PMA has already reached 50.  Four have already recovered.

"It's likely that it will be implemented especially if the infections will continue to rise," Arevalo said.

According to the results of the contact tracing, the virus originated from the food handlers who were coming in and out of the PMA bubble to cater the cadets' and the military personnel's food everyday.

Right now, Major General Ferdinand Cartojano, PMA Superintendent, has already ordered the isolation of the infected individuals in a quarantine facility which was provided by the Baguio City local government unit (LGU). 

A thorough disinfection of the affected areas inside the PMA was also conducted.

Meanwhile, Arevalo said more cadets, Academy officials, and civilian human resource will be subjected to mass testing to determine if there are more infected cases inside the PMA bubble.

Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, will provide 2,000 RT-PCR test kits to support the mass testing efforts of the PMA, Arevalo noted.

Arevalo also assured that the infected individuals were being taken cared of to ensure their full recovery before they are allowed to go back to the PMA bubble.

"Naging doble lalo ang ating ginagawang pag-iingat. Nais nating kalmahin ang loob ng mga magulang ng kadete at mga may kaugnayan sa PMA na ginagawa po ng pamunuan ng Academy ang lahat ng kinakailangang stringent measures at health protocol kagaya ng detection, isolation, at treatment bago ulit ireintegrate sila sa Cadet Corps (We have doubled the precautionary measures. We would like to assure the parents of the cadets and all those connected to PMA that the management of the Academy is doing all stringent measures and health protocol like detection, isolation, and treatment before they are reintegrated to the Cadet Corps)," Arevalo said. 

Since the pandemic broke out in the cou try early last year, the PMA has been isolated from the outside world as it prevented the entry of outsiders into the Academy.

Some of the traditional activities and major events of the PMA last year had been cancelled, held virtually, or allowed but with limited participants to prevent the spread of the virus. 

This included the 2020 PMA graduation which was only attended by the cadets and Academy officials, and the annual alumni homecoming which had been postponed.

The classes of the cadets were also held virtually to prevent their face to face interactions.