DOH clarifies Palace statement on exceeding goal of 30K daily COVID-19 tests
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health on Monday clarified that the Philippines has reached only its “estimated maximum capacity” in testing for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) of 30,000 per day, and not the actual tests done.
This clarification was in light of the statement earlier of presidential spokesperson Harry Roque that the Philippines was able to conduct 32,100 tests for the coronavirus per day.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire that the 32,000 tests per day that Malacañang pointed out is only an “estimate” based on the available resources of accredited laboratories, such as the number of machines, personnel, and operating hours per laboratory.
However, laboratories may not reach their maximum estimated capacity for COVID-tests as some factors may affect operations, such as the “availability of lab supplies in the market, human resource issues, equipment issues, and issues in the infrastructure.”
“The 32,000 is the estimated capacity sans all other factors that may affect operations of laboratories… It’s the testing capacity based on existing resources” Vergeire said in a text message to reporters.
The Health official also clarified that the country has 42 licensed laboratories for COVID-19 testing, of which 34 are capable of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, while eight are Genexpert Labs.
Roque had initially said the country already has 66 accredited laboratories to conduct COVID-19 tests nationwide and later clarified this is only the government’s goal by the end of May.
The government has been ramping up its COVID-19 testing capacity by accrediting more laboratories that are capable of detecting the novel coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2 which 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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