Gov't surpasses 30,000 COVID-19 tests daily target – Roque

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr. on Monday, May 25, announced that the national testing capacity to detect coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has surpassed the 30,000 tests per day target.
swab test COVID-19

In a televised briefing, Roque said the country now has the capacity to conduct 32,000 tests daily as of May 20.

"Our first step to increasing the number of daily tests conducted is to expand our testing capacity. This means more accredited laboratories and more automated machine so that we are capable of testing up to 30,000 plus per day," he said.

According to Department of Health (DOH) tracker, there are 34 licensed laboratories nationwide equipped to perform reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests.

In order to maximize or improve the efficiency of laboratories, Roque said the government needs to:
improve our human resources through proficiency training, especially on the use of automated machine
improve our supply chain management of critical supplies for our labs
improve our data management to verify and release results faster.

Recently, Palace clarified that the government is doing expanded targeted testing and pointed out that no country is currently engaged in mass testing. This came after the appeal online for a mass testing for Filipinos to avoid spread of COVID-19.

“Unang-una, siguro po kase, mali yung ginagamit nating term na mass testing. Ang tawag po dapat ay expanded targeted testing. Wala pong bansa sa buong mundo na tine-test ang lahat ng kanilang mga mamamayan. Kaya nga po mali ang terminong mass testing,” explained Sec. Roque.

Roque said that what this means is that only 1 to 2 percent of the population of the entire country will be tested, or in the case of an epicenter, even higher than up to 10 percent.

On the DOH not requiring COVID-19 testing for returning employees, Secretary Roque confirms that there really is no provision in the DOH guidelines requiring employers to test their employees upon returning to work.

“Pero kung nagbo-boluntaryo po ang private sector na i-test ang kanilang empleyado bago bumalik sa kanilang mga trabaho, hindi po tututol ang gobyerno. Magpapasalamat pa, pero hindi po ibig sabihin na walang expanded target testing ang ating bayan,” said Secretary Roque.

As per DOH guidelines, priority testing is being done for critical or severe cases, mild cases but vulnerable, mild cases but not vulnerable, and for asymptomatics but with close contact or with history of travel.

— The Summit Express

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