Govt targeting increased COVID-19 testing capacity – DTI chief
MANILA, Philippines — Testing the country’s entire population for the novel coronavirus would be impossible, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez said Tuesday as he stressed that many countries only conduct targeted testing.
“Increasing the testing capacity is the real goal. That’s the reason why we had to go to ECQ [enhanced community quarantine] as we were building up yung testing capacity and the health facilities. To balance time, yun yung kinailangan natin,” Lopez said in an interview on ANC’s “Headstart.”
“I think in many countries, targeted talaga yung testing. Imposible yung mass testing na 100 percent of the population,” he added.
Lopez issued the statement after Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque admitted the government still has no program to carry out mass detection of the virus which causes the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
A portion of the nation’s labor force has reported back to work this week as some sectors were allowed to resume partial operations in areas under modified ECQ.
Returning employees, however, are not required to undergo a coronavirus test unless they have symptoms or were exposed to a COVID-19 patient, the Health department earlier said.
“Just to clarify, you don’t need to test all workers coming in. What they have to do is to fill up a health declaration form regarding their health status, if they are feeling well, if they are not feeling well, if they have been exposed to a COVID patient,” Lopez pointed out.
“What we’re saying lang is that some companies, those who can, who would like to do it, may opt to do the testing for all their workers. Optional yun,” he further said.
The government is eyeing to conduct 30,000 daily coronavirus tests by the end of May.
The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday said it has been able to conduct at least 11,000 COVID-19 tests per day.
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