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Most COVID-19 tests in PH carried out by Red Cross, other private groups

/ 12:19 AM May 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The majority of COVID-19 tests conducted in the Philippines were carried out by private organizations, particularly the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), according to government figures presented during a Senate hearing on Tuesday.

“On May 2, 2020, our testing capacity was at 8,500 per day. As of May 18, this testing capacity has more than doubled to 17,300 per day. If I move to actual tests, in the beginning of May, we were averaging only 5,000 tests per day. As of May 14, we hit our high of 11,123 per day,” Vince Dizon, the depot chief implementer of the National Task Force against COVID-19 (NTF), told senators.

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“This represents a 122-percent increase in less than two weeks from May 2 to May 14,” he added.

According to Dizon, tests conducted by the Red Cross account for 45%  of the May 14 total while 21% were from other private laboratories.

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The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) conducted 16% of the total number of tests while 18% was carried out in other government laboratories, he added.

“We have ramped that up to 11,123…and the major reason for that is the private sector and the government have come together under a whole-of-nation approach as called for by the president to really come together and bring our testing capacity up,” Dizon went on.

Sen. Richard Gordon, who is the PRC chairman, attributed the high number of tests being conducted by the organization to the work of its volunteers.

“There’s more work to be done and we will keep working even when the world no longer watches,” he said on Twitter.

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According to Dizon, around 240,000 have already been tested for the coronavirus in the Philippines.

He also mentioned that the Philippines was eyeing to test a total of two million Filipinos with a target goal of increasing the country’s testing capacity to 50,000 COVID-19 tests per day by June.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Philippine health officials have so far confirmed nearly 13,000 COVID-19 cases in the country.

Of the number, 2,843 have so far recovered while 837 have died from the disease.

/atm

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 disease, Coronavirus Pandemic, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, COVID-19 tests, Private sector, Senate
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