Testing capacity for COVID-19 exceeds 50K, but actual tests only at 16K
MANILA, Philippines — The country’s testing capacity has surpassed 50,000 per day, but the actual tests done by all accredited laboratories are still below maximum capacity.
“As of June 19 po ay lampas na tayo ng 50,000,” Vince Dizon, deputy chief implementer of the government’s response against COVID-19 said in an online Palace briefing Thursday.
Dizon said the country’s average testing output is at 16,000 per day, but government is eyeing to conduct 20,000 to 25,000 actual tests in the next few weeks.
“Yun pong nakaraang buwan, nasa 8,000 lang tayo. Ngayon ay dumoble na, nag-hit tayo ng 16,000 per day pero kulang pa rin ito. Kailangan at the very least aabot tayo ng 20,000 hanggang 25,000 tests a day,” he said.
(The previous month, we were hitting 8,000 tests. Now, it has doubled. We hit 16,000 per day but it’s still lacking. We need to reach 20,000 to 25,000 tests a day.)
The number of accredited COVID-19 laboratories nationwide is at 66, Dizon said, of which 41 are government-run, 24 are privately-owned, and one is a public-private partnership.
As of June 22, Dizon said the government has conducted over 600,000 COVID-19 tests, adding it is eyeing to conduct a million tests within July.
“Ngayon po, tayo ay nasa 600,000 so ineexpect natin na within the month of July ay aabot na tayo ng isang milyon,” he said.
(Right now, we are at 600,000 and we are expecting that within the month of July, we will reach a million.)
Malacañang earlier said it is eyeing to test 1.5 to 2 percent of the country’s nearly 110 million population.
“Pipilitin po natin in the next few months ay aabot na tayo sa halos 2 percent ng ating buong populasyon, prioritizing syempre ang ating mga densely populated areas katulad ng Metro Manila, Calabarzon, Central Luzon, Cebu at Davao,” Dizon said.
(We will try that in the next few months, we can reach 2 percent of our population, prioritizing the densely populated areas like Metro Manila, Calabarzon, Central Luzon, Cebu at Davao.)
Due to the arrival of more test kits, Dizon said locally stranded individuals will be subjected to COVID-19 testing before returning to their provinces.
“Isa-subject na po natin sa mandatory PCR (polymerase chain reaction) ang lahat ng mga locally stranded individuals bago po sila bumiyahe papunta sa mga probinsiya,” he said.
(Locally stranded individuals will be subject to mandatory PCR testing before they can return to their provinces.)
Authorities have temporarily barred stranded individuals from entering Region 8 due to the rising COVID-19 infection there.
Dizon also said they will recommend to the Department of Health (DOH) the testing of non-medical frontliners including policemen, coast guard and fire personnel, barangay officials, contact tracing teams, mortuary/cemetery workers, social workers and volunteers, and media personnel.
The Philippines has so far recorded 33,069 COVID-19 cases nationwide with 1,212 deaths and 8,910 recoveries.
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