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PH testing capacity still far from target of 30K daily tests by end of May

/ 03:01 PM May 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines’ daily COVID-19 testing capacity currently stands at 11,500 a day, not even half the government’s target of 30,000 daily tests by the end of May.

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In a televised press briefing Friday, National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. said the government efforts to increase the country’s testing capacity continues.

“Sa ngayon na-breach na po natin ang 11,500 mark at tuluy-tuloy po ang pag-angkat natin ng makinarya, mga automated machines para tumaas po ang ating capacity,” Galvez said.

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(Right now we’ve breached the 11,500 mark and we continue to import automated machines to increase our capacity.)

The government is eyeing to achieve 30,000 daily tests by the end of May—a goal it set after failing to reach its initial target of 8,000 daily tests by the end of April.

To date, there are 31 laboratories nationwide that are capable of detecting SARS-CoV-2—the virus that causes COVID-19— using RT-PCR tests. Meanwhile, seven laboratories are accredited to use GeneXpert rapid test kits, which can yield results within 45 minutes.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the Department of Health (DOH) has deployed specific certifying teams to at least 17 laboratories on the advanced phases of its five-stage accreditation process to speed up certification.

“Nagbigay na po tayo ng mga specific na teams para matutukan itong mga laboratories na ito dahil iyan ang magbibigay sa ating ng capacity para maitaas natin at mareach natin ‘yung 30,000 tests per day,” she said.

(We have sent out specific teams to focus on the laboratories which will be responsible for increasing our capacity to reach 30,000 tests per day.)

Earlier, Malacañang vowed to reach the goal “by hook or by crook” amid calls for the massive testing programs.

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The government’s “expanded targeted testing” aims to test 1.5 to 2 percent of the country’s total population or about 1.6 to 2.2 million people.

So far, the country has conducted 224,673 tests according to DOH’s COVID-19 tracker.

The COVID-19 nationwide tally is 13,343 with a death toll of 846 and recoveries of 3,000.

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, mass testing, NcoV, Outbreak, testing
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