‘Manpower shortage hounding bid to boost COVID-19 testing capacity’
MANILA, Philippines — The biggest challenge in the government’s drive to ramp up its coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing capacity is the lack of personnel, the government’s testing czar Vince Dizon said Thursday.
The problem has shifted to lack of personnel from lack of COVID-19 laboratories on the onset of the outbreak, Dizon said in an interview on ANC.
“The biggest challenge in the beginning was we did not have enough laboratories,” said Dizon, who is also the National Task Force on COVID-19’s deputy chief implementer.
“But the biggest challenge now, now that we already have 85 labs, our supplies are coming in, our biggest challenge now is personnel,” he added.
Dizon cited the recent scaling down of operations of the country’s prime COVID-19 testing center, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine after some of its staff got infected with the virus.
“Getting more medical technologists, getting more lab personnel is a big challenge. And we have to really find a way to address this by even maybe asking for volunteers from our schools to provide us with skilled technicians,” Dizon said.
The country’s testing capacity earlier surpassed 50,000 but Dizon said the actual tests being conducted per day is at 25,000.
Most of the 25,000 tests are being conducted Metro Manila which Dizon said is at about 17,000 per day.
Recently, the country also surpassed its goal of conducting one million COVID-19 tests.
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