Palace confident SC will junk petition for free mass testing for COVID-19
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang is confident that the Supreme Court will junk the petition calling for free mass testing for COVID-19, saying the government is already ramping up its testing program.
“Ibabasura po iyan ng Korte Suprema, kasi sa mula’t-mula po mayroon po talaga tayong programa na targeted testing (The Supreme Court will dismiss that petition because we have a targeted testing program ever since),” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised press briefing Friday.
Eleven individuals representing various sectors earlier asked the high court to order the government to fortify contact tracing efforts and improve laboratory testing capacity.
Roque said the government is now expanding its COVID-19 testing to include patients who are asymptomatic or those who show no symptoms of the respiratory disease to utilize the procured 10 million test kits.
“Ngayon po, isasama na rin natin ang mga asymptomatic, iyong mga manggagawa, iyong iba pang mga frontliners kagaya ng media, subject naman po to the final guidelines to be issued by the Department of Health and the National Task Force,” the Palace official said.
(We will include the asymptomatic, the workers, the other frontliners like the media, subject to the final guidelines to be issued by the Department of Health and the National Task Force.)
“So ginagawa na po iyan at talaga namang hinintay lang natin na magkaroon ng mas maraming labs, hinintay lang natin na makabili ang DBM ng 10 million testing kits,” he added.
(So we’re doing that already and we’re just waiting to have more laboratories, we’re just waiting for DBM to buy 10 million testing kits.)
Calls for massive COVID-19 testing have been persistent amid the increasing number of coronavirus infection in the country.
But the government earlier said it will not conduct mass testing. Instead, the government will carry out an “expanded targeted testing” with Roque saying that it is even wrong to use the term “mass testing” as no country can conduct the deliberate testing of all its citizens.
To date, the are 38,805 COVID-19 cases nationwide, including 10,673 recoveries and 1,274 deaths.
As of June 30, the Philippines has tested 681,667 individuals for SARS-CoV-2— the new strain of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
The government is eyeing to test some 1.6 to 2.2 million people nationwide or 1.5 to 2 percent of the country’s total population.
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