DOH: No shortage in COVID-19 test kits in Philippines
MANILA, Philippines — The country’s supply of test kits for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is “enough and sufficient for everybody,” the Department of Health (DOH) has assured on Wednesday.
However, it is the other materials needed for testing such as reagents and other laboratory equipment that the Philippine government has difficulty in procuring due to international competition, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.
“Hindi kulang ang testing kits natin, ang kulang ay ‘yung supplies na kasama nitong testing kits. Marami tayong supply ng testing kits, it is sufficient for our needs,” she told reporters in an online media forum.
(Our test kits are enough. What isn’t is the supplies that come with the test kits. We have ample supply of test kits, it is sufficient for our needs.)
“What we are having problems with right now are the other logistics for the laboratories, ‘yung ibang reagents, ‘yung ibang mga gamit na pag sino-source out namin na talagang very hard to source out because there is an international competition,” Vergeire added.
(What we are having problems with right now are the other logistics for the laboratories, other reagents, other materials that we outsource which is very difficult to procure due to international competition.)
Test kits in the country are “enough and sufficient for everybody,” the health official further assured.
So far, over 200,000 individuals across the country have been tested for SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. According to DOH data, there are still about 830,000 test kits available.
The health department issued the remark amid calls for the conduct of mass testing among COVID-infected areas as quarantine protocols are easing up.
Malacañang earlier said the government does not have any program yet for mass testing as it does not have enough resources.
It said it is up for the private sector to conduct the mass tests.
The government is also only aiming to test 1.5 to 2 percent of its almost 110 million population, as no other country has ever tested 100 percent of its population for the coronavirus
The DOH, however, clarified that it is focused on conducting “expanded targeted testing” due to the limited resources. Vergeire earlier admitted that it would be difficult to conduct mass testing — meaning the whole population will be tested for the coronavirus — due to lack of 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.)
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