DOH: No VIPs but ‘courtesy’ given to key gov’t execs
MANILA, Philippines — While maintaining that no “VIP treatment” is being given to some government officials tested for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Department of Health conceded Monday that it accorded officials holding positions of national security and public health “courtesy.”
The DOH issued the statement amid public ire after it allegedly prioritized some public officials and senators’ diagnostic tests for COVID-19, including those of their asymptomatic family members despite the lack of coronavirus detection kits.
The DOH explained that only persons under investigations (PUIs) with mild symptoms who are elderly with an underlying condition and immunocompromised and those admitted PUIs in severe and critical condition may be tested for the respiratory disease.
“Further, the DOH assures the public that there is no policy for VIP treatment and that all specimens are being processed on a first-in, first-out basis. With courtesy accorded to officials holding positions of national security and public health,” the DOH said in a statement.
The Health department likewise said it is hoping that with the arrival of 100,000 testing kits and accreditation of additional sub-national laboratories and dedicated COVID-19 referral hospitals, “more cases will be detected and appropriately managed.”
#NoToVIPTesting trended on Twitter on Sunday night as the public railed against the so-called “VIP testing” involving some government officials.
Netizens lambasted the officials for using their influence to get through express lane and skip protocols amid the lack of COVID-29 test kits in the country.
Earlier, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire cited the need to “preserve” certain high-ranking officials in justifying the testing of some officials.
“We need to preserve high people in government na specific lang. I’m not saying, everybody. Kaya po may mga ganun,” she explained.
As of date, there are now 396 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country. Of them, 33 have died while 18 recovered.
The cases were detected in the course of over 1,500 COVID019 tests.
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