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WHO provides PH chemicals for testing 1,500 coronavirus patients

02:46 PM February 11, 2020
Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe

Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, WHO representative to the Philippines. Photo by Cathrine Gonzales/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — The World Health Organization (WHO) delivered on Tuesday chemicals and reagents to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) that can test 1,500 patients for the novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD).

“We have provided the necessary chemicals and reagents to RITM. In fact we made a delivery to RITM, so the capacity is increasing. I believe it is for 1,500 patients, today’s deliverables, samples,” Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, WHO representative to the Philippines, said in an interview with reporters.

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The WHO is looking at providing more of these chemicals that will be used to test 3,000 more patients in the Philippines, although Abeyasinghe noted that the delivery is based on the need of each country to ensure that there will be no shortage.

“We have to deal with the global demand for these products, so please understand that every country is asking for this. We have to accommodate everybody’s needs,” he explained.

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Currently, the RITM conducts tests on patients under investigation (PUIs) for suspected infection of the virus.

Abeyasinghe said the WHO is working with the Department of Health (DOH) to broaden the institute’s testing capacity so that more people can be examined faster.

Even as health authorities have yet to contain the virus, Abeyasinghe noted a declining increase of reported cases outside Wuhan in China’s Hubei province which has been the epicenter of the outbreak.

“I think there is hope now. We have seen declining trend outside the Wuhan City in Hubei province over the last few days. I believe we are seeing a declining trend in the total number of cases reported in China last night,” he said.

“This is possible early evidence—of course we still have to still watch and see—that the measures being implemented inside Wuhan, Hubei, and China are working,” he added.

Meanwhile, the WHO official also reiterated that the virus being classified as airborne is still not confirmed.

The novel coronavirus has already claimed the lives of 1,016 and infected 42,638 in mainland China as of Monday.

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Worldwide, the number of infected people has reached 43,090 as of Tuesday morning.

The Philippines recorded the lone fatality over the new viral strain outside of China, with 314 PUIs recorded as of 12 noon Monday.

Edited by EDV

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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TAGS: Coronavirus, nCoV update, novel coronavirus, Rabindra Abeyasinghe, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), WHO
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