Military Police ordered to undergo Covid tests

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
National Military Police commander General Sao Sokha has a sample collected for coronavirus testing after more than 80 intervention officers from the National Police tested positive recently. TVK

Military Police officers and their commanders throughout the country are now required to have their samples collected for Covid-19 testing out of fears that they may have contracted the virus while on duty during the lockdown, especially in the red zones.

The order came after more than 80 intervention officers from the National Police tested positive recently.

As of May 10, more than 100 officers and commanders have had their samples taken at the National Military Police Headquarters in Phnom Penh.

National Military Police commander General Sao Sokha was the first person to take the Covid test. He told The Post on May 10 that the officers who have not undergone Covid-19 tests will not be allowed to serve in their units until they do so.

Sokha explained that some of them could possibly have contracted the virus while enforcing the recent government lockdown of Phnom Penh and Kandal province’s Takmao town.

“The Military Police forces must also protect themselves from the virus in order to provide safety to all of the armed forces and to continue enforcing the lockdown and other matters of social security.

“The decision to test all the Military Police, including me, is to prevent the virus from spreading further which could bring about difficulties in the future,” he said, adding that it was a new experience for the Military Police to deal with lockdowns of the civilian population.

“We’re using the rapid testing kits to test the samples of all Military Police forces to see whether they have contracted the virus. This is to ensure that the disease will not spread throughout our units that were engaged in enforcing the lockdown orders. Of the 100 officers tested so far, no one was positive,” Sokha said.

He said that since the Covid-19 outbreak, around 10 military police had contracted the virus from their families, but not from their colleagues. Most of them have recovered now.

Sokha did not reveal how many Military Police were deployed during the lockdown, but said he had received 5,000 rapid test kits from the Ministry of Health which he said would not be enough to test all the officers and commanders.

The 84 officers from the National Police who tested positive for Covid-19 were among those deployed to enforce the lockdown orders. Most of them were stationed in Phnom Penh’s red zones, according to National Police spokesman Chhay Kim Khoeun.

“Yes, many officers from the intervention unit of the National Police have contracted the virus. They had been on standby in the red zone in [Meanchey district’s] Stung Meanchey commune in Phnom Penh,” he said.