Military records 33 coronavirus cases among soldiers, families

Rappler.com
Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo says that the Armed Forces' COVID-19 patients include soldiers, family members, civilian employees, and a reservist

 The Armed Forces of the Philippines Mobile Kitchen feeds residents of Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City on April 20, 2020. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines –  The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said that it has recorded 33 novel coronavirus cases among soldiers and their families since the outbreak was first reported in the country in late January.

Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said on Monday, April 20, that of the AFP’s confirmed cases, 22 are soldiers, 6 are dependents or family members, 4 civilian employees, and a reservist.

Of the probable cases, 111 are military personnel and 4 are dependents; and of the suspected cases, 141 are soldiers and 21 are family members.

Citing data from the AFP Medical Center, Arevalo said that there were 20 patients of the 33 cases who have recovered from COVID-19, the disease brought by the novel coronavirus.

AFP chief of staff General Filemon Santos, Jr himself had recovered from COVID-19. Another senior military official, whom Santos was exposed to, had also tested positive for the disease. (READ: Navy chief tests negative for virus; Army, Air Force chiefs in quarantine)

Soldiers have been in the frontlines since President Rodrigo Duterte declared a Luzon-wide lockdown in March to curb the spread of the deadly pathogen that originated in Wuhan, China in late December.

Duterte had threatened to order the military and police to take over the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine if Filipinos continue to break lockdown rules.

The commander-in-chief described it as a “martial law-like lockdown”.

While Duterte has yet to issue a deployment order, the military has begun to prepare for it. 

Arevalo confirmed on Sunday, April 19, a Philippine Air Force (PAF) internal memo advising troops to “prepare for strict implementation of extensive enhanced community quarantine where the AFP will be the overall in-charge along roads and highways.”

Arevalo had said that it was a “natural reaction” of the military to prepare for any order that the President might issue, and that the Air Force memo was “nothing to be alarmed about.”

On Monday, the military rolled out its mobile kitchen to serve hot meals to homeless families. The project started in Barangay Tatalon, Quezon City and could possibly serve other communities, a statement from the AFP said. – Rappler.com