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‘Complain nang complain’: Duterte adviser berates doctors on use of rapid test kits for returning workers

By: - Reporter / @KAguilarINQ
/ 01:12 PM May 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — An adviser of President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday berated a group of doctors and members of the medical society for “complaining” against the private sector’s plan to use rapid test kits for returning workers following the recent transition of certain areas to the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

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In a televised briefing Wednesday, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion defended the use of rapid test kits for employees in the private sector, saying it is “better to test than not to test.”

“Problema nitong mga doctor, salita nang salita, wala namang ginagawa. Complain nang complain. Ang mangyayari dito kung magsasarado ulit yung ekonomiya ng Pilipinas, maraming mawawalan ng trabaho,” Concepcion said.

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(The problem with these doctors is that they keep on talking but are doing nothing. They keep on complaining. What will happen if the Philippine economy closes again is that a lot of people will lose their jobs.)

“We can’t afford another lockdown. My appeal to all these doctors, if you have a better alternative, why don’t you tell us that better alternative?” he added.

Several doctors and medical society groups earlier thumbed down the use of rapid antibody tests for employees who are returning to their jobs, saying it only creates a “false sense of security.”

Philippine Society of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (PSMID) further claimed this would only strain businesses’ and the health-care system’s resources.

Given the high incidence of false-positive results, the PSMID and the other medical societies — the Philippine Medical Association, Philippine College of Physicians, Philippine College of Occupational Medicine (PCOM), Philippine Society of General and Internal Medicine, Philippine Academy of Family Physicians, and the Philippine Society of Public Health Physicians (PSPHP) — expressed concern that workers would be unduly forced into isolation and companies and the health system would unnecessarily be wasting much-needed resources.

The groups issued their warning as businesses resumed partial operations upon the imposition of MECQ in Metro Manila and other areas.

Despite this, the Department of Health (DOH) said employees are not required to undergo a coronavirus test prior to returning to work unless they have symptoms or were exposed to a COVID-19 patient.

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“The reason why we’re doing this is because as we open up the economy, we wanna be sure that the health is not affected and that’s the only method,” Concepcion said.

He added that the workers will not be able to undergo the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing in laboratories due to the limited capacity.

Concepcion earlier said that some 500,000 rapid test kits are set to be distributed to over 200 private companies to ensure that their businesses are safe for reopening.

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TAGS: coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, Joey Concepcion, rapid test kits
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