DOH: COVID-19 subnational labs stretching operations up to 16 hours
MANILA, Philippines — Coronavirus testing laboratories across the country have been stretching their operations up to 16 hours daily in a bid to detect and immediately isolate and treat COVID-19 patients.
“Hindi lang (Not only) RITM (Research Institute on Tropical Medicine) ang nagsi-16 hours (is going 16 hours), halos lahat ng rating (almost all of) subnational laboratories ng (of) government. They already extended their hours of work to 16 hours,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online press briefing Tuesday.
Vergeire issued this remark after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to hire more personnel and operate for 24 hours in light of the health crisis.
The health official likewise bared that RITM, the country’s main COVID-19 testing facility, is currently working on mapping out a plan for round-the-clock operations.
“‘Yung (The) extension of hours of RITM pinag-uusapan nila ngayon (is already being discussed). Dahil nga po doon as (Precisely because of the) current number of people nila na umiikot (on shifting), titingnan nila kung paano nila gagawin ‘yung (they are looking at how they can do the) 24 hours,” Vergeire noted.
Earlier, RITM scaled down its operations after 43 of its personnel contracted the infectious respiratory disease. So far, 38 of them have already recovered.
DOH has ramped up its COVID-19 testing with the government targeting to conduct 8,000 tests per day by the end of April.
The government is also eyeing to purchase 900,000 polymerase chain reaction-based kits and about two million rapid test kits. Some 3,000 GeneXpert test kits, which can produce results in less than an hour, are also expected to arrive in the country.
To date, the Philippines has 18 COVID-19 testing laboratories nationwide.
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