COVID-19 swab tests only for symptomatic workers — DTI
MANILA, Philippines — Only workers in the hospitality and tourism sectors, manufacturing companies, including frontline and economic priority employees with symptoms of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are required to undergo swab tests, the Department of Trade and Industry said Monday.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the Joint Memorandum Circular No. 20-04 series of 2020 of the DTI and the Department of Trade and Industry on the COVID-19 testing for workers in select industries only followed the protocols set by the Department of Health.
“Actually sinunod lang ‘yung portion ng memorandum circular doon sa memorandum ng DOH na sinasabi naman doon na una, kailangan ang PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing ay doon sa mga symptomatic,” Lopez said on ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo.
(Actually, the portion of the memorandum circular only followed the memorandum of the DOH that only requires PCR testing on those who are symptomatic.)
“‘Yun ang kailangan, ‘yung may mga nararamdaman na sakit. Pero ‘yung required hindi po sya required kung wala ka namang sakit. Basically ang sinasabi din sa DOH memorandum, ang word ay ‘may be tested on a regular basis,’ yung every quarter, not required,” he further explained.
(Those who feel sick need to be tested. But it is not required if you are not sick. Basically, the DOH memorandum also says the workers “may be tested on a regular basis,” but is not required.)
Lopez made this clarification after it was earlier reported that workers in some sectors will be required to regularly undergo swab tests to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.
He also said that costs for the tests should be shouldered by the employers and not the employees. He added that employers can in turn let health insurance firms shoulder the costs.
Meanwhile, Lopez said the DTI also favors the implementation of the more relaxed general community quarantine and strict granular lockdowns once the modified enhanced community quarantine is lifted in Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, and Rizal on August 18.
He said this has long been the position of the DTI even before, adding that intensified contact tracing, testing, and isolation, and not just widespread lockdowns, are needed to curb the spread of COVID-19.
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