Gov’t surpasses goal of 30K daily COVID-19 testing capacity — Palace
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has met its goal of increasing its testing capacity to 30,000 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) tests per day, Malacañang said Monday.
During a televised briefing, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the country now has the capacity to conduct 32,100 COVID-19 tests as of May 20.
“Naabot na po natin ang 30,000 PCR tests per day. Ang original target po ay 30,000 by May 30 pero nung Mayo 20 po, nakaabot na po tayo sa 32,100 tests per day. Nalampasan po natin ang ating target,” Roque said.
Roque initially said the country already has 66 accredited laboratories to conduct COVID-19 tests nationwide and later on clarified this is only the government’s goal by the end of May.
According to the Department of Health’s (DOH) COVID-19 tracker released Sunday, there are 34 licensed laboratories equipped to perform reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests and eight laboratories licensed to perform COVID-19 testing using GeneXpert cartridges.
DOH Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire clarified the 32,000 is the “estimated” maximum capacity daily of all licensed laboratories nationwide.
“This also does not include yet the factors that may affect the operations of each laboratory,” she said in a message to reporters.
In a statement, Roque echoed Vergeire’s explanation and said he was only referring to the “national testing capacity.”
He noted that the next step is to improve the “efficiency” of laboratories for COVID-19 testing.
In order to achieve this, Roque said there is a need to ”improve our human resources through proficiency training, especially on the use of automated machines, improve our supply chain management of critical supplies for our labs, and improve our data management to verify and release results faster.”
The government has been ramping up its COVID-19 testing capacity by accrediting more laboratories that are capable of detecting SARS-CoV-2—the virus that causes COVID-19.
The DOH earlier set the target of being able to conduct 30,000 tests per day by the end of May.
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.
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