PH may not reach 8K daily target of COVID-19 testings by April 30
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines may not reach its target of 8,000 daily coronavirus tests by the end of the month, the Department of Health (DOH) revealed Wednesday.
The DOH has ramped up its COVID-19 testing with the government targeting to conduct 8,000 tests per day by April 30. But a day before the target date, the country can only conduct “less than 5,000” COVID-19 tests daily, according to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
“Mukhang hindi po aabot dito sa walong libo for April 30 though sinusubakan ho natin dahil ngayon po dumating na ‘yung cartridges natin for GeneXpert,” Vergeire said in a televised Laging Handa public briefing.
(It looks like we cannot reach 8,000 for April 30 though we are trying our best because our cartridges already arrived for GeneXpert.)
GeneXpert test kits can reportedly provide results after 45 minutes — way faster than the real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test kits being used in 18 DOH-accredited laboratories nationwide, which has a turnaround time of 24 hours.
Vergeire likewise, cited the temporary scaling down of operations of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), the country’s main COVID-19 testing lab, as among the reasons for failing to meet the April 30 target.
However, the Health official expressed confidence that the target will be attained in the coming days as more testing kits arrive.
“Marami po ang nangyaring issue this past week like ‘yung RITM isang linggong na-down. But anyway itong ating goal ay ating pilit na aabutin this coming days as all the resources have been pouring in coming from the private sector side and coming from the government,” Vergeire said.
(A lot of issues transpired this past week like in the RITM that went down for a week. But anyway regarding our goal, we will try to reach it this coming days as all the resources have been pouring in coming from the private sector side and coming from the government.)
Earlier, RITM scaled down its operations after 43 of its personnel contracted the infectious respiratory disease. So far, 38 of them have already recovered.
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