DOH conducting ‘expanded’ testing, not mass testing

By: - Reporter / @DYGalvezINQ
/ 02:48 PM May 19, 2020
Maria Rosario Vergeire 1

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire talks with reporters via Zoom meeting on Thursday, April 23, 2020. INQUIRER.net file photo / Daphne Galvez

MANILA, Philippines — Instead of mass testing for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Department of Health (DOH) is focused on conducting “expanded” testing.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Tuesday said that the DOH has been expanding its scope for COVID-19 testing to include individuals exhibiting mild to no symptoms.


“Noong mga initial months of the response, we really were focusing on the vulnerable at saka ‘yung mga severe at critical cases. But later on, because of this expanded testing policy, naisama na natin kahit ‘yung may mild lang na sintomas but with exposure and even asymptomatics but with exposure are being tested now,” she told reporters in an online press briefing.

(During the initial months of the response, we are really focusing on the vulnerable and severe and critical cases. But later on, because of this expanded testing policy, we have included even the mild cases but with exposure, and even those showing no symptoms, are being tested now but with exposure.)


She issued the clarification following Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque’s earlier statement saying that the Philippine government does not have enough resources to conduct mass testing, and instead will shift the burden to private sectors.

The DOH has tried to “veer away” from using the term “mass testing” as it connotes that the whole population would be tested for the coronavirus.

Vergeire explained that testing the whole population for COVID-19 would be difficult as there are limited resources.

“This is not indiscriminate testing kasi pag sinabing mass testing, iisipin ng mga tao buong populasyon ng Pilipinas ang ite-test, which is not the case,” she said.

(When you say mass testing, the public will think that the whole Philippine population will be tested.)

“Sa expanded testing ay tayo ay magfofocus doon sa mga taong kailangan itest talaga because of exposure and because of symptoms,” the Health official added.

(In expanded testing, we will focus on people who need testing because of their exposure to the virus and because of their symptoms.)


The DOH has since then ramping up the country’s testing capacity. It aims to conduct at least 30,000 COVID-19 tests a day.

So far, it has been able to conduct 11,127 tests last May 15 alone.

So far, the DOH has tested over 207,000 individuals for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, and has conducted more than 220,000 tests.

To date, the Philippines have 12,718 cases of COVID-19, with 2,729 recoveries and 831 fatalities.


For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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TAGS: Coronavirus, COVID-19, DoH, expanded testing, mass testing, Roque
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