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DOH to tap more laboratories for COVID-19 testing

/ 12:59 PM April 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) said Thursday it will tap more laboratories across the country to help conduct tests for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Health Undersecretary Ma. Rosario Vergeire said the DOH will now apply this strategy as some facilities applying to be laboratories for COVID-19 testing lack certain requirements for accreditation.

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“Ngayon, ang mga nag-aapply sa atin ay mga laboratories na wala naman talagang experience pa na gumawa ng biosafety laboratories na ito. Kaya nahihirapan po sila na makapagcomply ng ating mga requirements,” she said in a virtual press conference.

(Right now, the laboratories applying for accreditation do not have experience in setting up biosafety laboratories. That’s why they are finding a hard time complying with requirements.)

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“Kaya nga nagkaroon tayo ngayon ng bagong strategy na gagawin po natin, we will now be proposing, we will be identifying laboratories across the country na sa tingin namin, kami na ang titingin, na pwede na, pwede na namin tulungan para maging isang laboratoryo for COVID-19,” she added.

(That’s why we will now have a new strategy where we will propose, we will identify laboratories across the country that we think we can help equip to be a laboratory for COVID-19 testing).

Vergeire also explained that the delay in setting up more laboratories for COVID-19 testing is not solely dependent on the DOH, adding that it is also up to the applicant laboratories’ compliance to requirements for accreditation.

According to Vergeire, the University of the Philippines – National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) has also been helping the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in training biosafety officers and medical technologists who will man certified laboratories.

As of April 24, the country now has 18 subnational laboratories capable of detecting SARS CoV-2 or severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, which causes COVID-19.

Nationwide, the number of COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday afternoon was at 8,212, with 254 new cases.

The death toll is marked at 558, with 28 new fatalities. Meanwhile, the number of patients who have recovered is now at 1,023, with 48 new recoveries.

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