Virus hits PDEA agents, drug suspects

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BY SHIELA G. GELERA

Five agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Negros Occidental and two of the six drug personalities they arrested in Barangay Banago, Bacolod City, earlier this month, tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019.

Nicolas Gomez, head of PDEA-Negros Occidental, said yesterday their office was placed on lockdown since August 13.

The five PDEA agents and the two detainees were already isolated in a quarantine facility, Gomez said.

He said the drug personalities they arrested in Banago told them that the barangay is categorized as “high-risk” for COVID-19.

A day after the buy-bust, two PDEA agents experienced above normal body temperature and were immediately isolated, while the rest of the team were quarantined, Gomez said.

All 12 agents of PDEA-Negros Occidental were then subjected to swab testing, and five of them yielded positive results, Gomez said.

He said the agents probably contracted the virus during their operation in Banago because they have no travel history outside the province since June.

Members of the Special Enforcement Team from PDEA-6 are the ones augmenting in the anti-illegal drugs operations, while the PDEA-Negros Occidental personnel are still on quarantine.

Meanwhile, swab testing was also conducted on the six drug personalities arrested by PDEA in Banago, who were detained at the custodial facility of Station 3 in Barangay Mandalagan since August 12, P/Maj. Richard Fajarito, the station commander, said.

Two of the six detainees, who were all asymptomatic, yielded positive results for Covid-19 and were brought to a quarantine facility, Fajarito said.

He said the other cellmates who tested negative were also isolated from other detainees at the custodial facility of Station 3.*

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