Gov’t quells public’s fear: Funds enough for production of COVID-19 test kits
MANILA, Philippines — The government on Sunday assured the public that it has sufficient funds for the production of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test kits, dispelling speculations online about the supposed shortage of resources.
In a joint statement, Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo and Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato de la Peña urged the public to “be wary of false narratives” on social media that creates “apprehension and panic.”
“We wish to assure our countrymen that the Office of the President is providing the needed funds of the DOH (Department of Health), DOST (Department of Science and Technology) and UP (University of the Philippines) Manila’s National Institutes of Health in the production of the diagnostic kits for the COVID-19 tests,” the officials said.
Manila Healthtek is also prepared to produce “bigger quantities” of the testing kits required to respond to the present crisis, in addition to its current inventory, once the imported raw materials arrive, according to the two Cabinet officials.
Manila Healthtek is the first biotechnology private company for health in the country. It has manufactured the coronavirus detection kits developed by local scientists from the University of the Philippines.
DOST likewise denied involvement in the call for donations – allegedly being made by some groups –regarding access to test kits.
“Sufficient funds are available,” the two Cabinet officials stressed.
But for those in the private sector who wish to donate funds, they may do so and coordinate either with the Department of Health, Philippine General Hospital, Department of Social Welfare and Development and local government units “to ensure its rightful receipt and best use,” they added.
“We assure our people that we are prepared to use to the fullest the resources of the government to arrest the spread of the disease and secure the safety and health of the citizenry,” the officials said.
“We appeal to everyone to observe strictly the protocols espoused by the IATF on personal hygiene and social distancing that we may protect each other from being a potential carrier and transmitter of COVID-19.”
As of posting time, there are 111 cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines, eight of whom died while five recovered.
The World Health Organization declared the disease as a global pandemic after it killed more than 5,000 people and infected over 150,000 others worldwide.
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2, which outbreak started in China’s Wuhan City in Hube province in late 2019.
People who have COVID-19 could recover since for most people, its symptoms were mild like fever and cough. But the illness could also be worse or serious for others such as pneumonia, especially for older adults and those with existing health problems.
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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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