Army’s CBRN unit deployed if battle against COVID-19

The Philippine Army (PA) is utilizing its Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) unit to decontaminate and disinfect troops manning the checkpoints throughout Luzon which is under enhanced community quarantine due to coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.

PA chief Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay in a media interview during the PA’s 123rd-anniversary rites on Monday morning said the CBRN unit is trained for such tasks and these procedures are done shortly after the PA personnel are relieved during the night by fresh troops.

Around 441 Army soldiers were deployed since last March 17 to man checkpoints enforcing the 30-day enhanced community quarantine being implemented in Luzon to contain the Covid-19.

“Troops are decontaminated before they rest for the night,” Gapay said in Filipino.

He also said troops who have completed their tour of manning the checkpoints undergo 14-day quarantine at an Army gymnasium where there are prepared quarters for them.

“They’ll be having some activities during the 14 days and they’ll be monitored,” Gapay said.

Gapay said one soldier has been considered a “person under monitoring” after experiencing fever, which he said, maybe due to fatigue he suffered after his checkpoint duty north of Metro Manila.

He said the PA is planning to tap PA camps nationwide as “massive containment facilities” if needed.

The Army hospitals or medical facilities inside military camps or bases have “isolation rooms” and stand-by medical teams on 24/7 duty, he added.

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the PA canceled its scheduled PA anniversary activities to focus on its humanitarian assistance and disaster response which include providing transportation assistance for medical professionals and other essential workers in Metro Manila during the community quarantine period.

Other PA’s initiatives include coordination with stakeholders and private individuals in extending help to frontline workers and poor communities at risk of the virus like providing transportation and distribution of food and other supplies to medical facilities.

The Army also intensified camp precautionary measures and regular training and education to personnel whose duties include processing potentially infected persons. PNA.GOV.PH