PNP eyes use of antigen tests for COVID-19 mass testing of personnel
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) is eyeing the use of antigen test kits to augment its efforts in tracing new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in its ranks.
“I instructed the (PNP) Health Service to study the antigen so we would be able to use it properly. We will use the antigen if it is necessary,” PNP chief Gen. Camilo Cascolan told ABS-CBN News Channel on Wednesday.
Antigen tests use a nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swab for the collection of samples. It uses laboratory or health care settings to process the specimens.
The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases previously approved the use of antigen tests for asymptomatic domestic travelers. But the Department of Health said they will revise the guidelines for the antigen tests before it could be used for tourists.
Meanwhile, Cascolan said they still have reserve forces ready to assist the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), which is “greatly affected” by the coronavirus disease pandemic.
“We already have more or less 210,000 PNP. The region that is greatly affected is NCRPO and Camp Crame has reserve forces that would be able to augment NCRPO. That is why we don’t have problems with people infected,” he said.
As of Tuesday, PNP has logged 5,206 COVID-19 cases with 1,439 deaths and 3,751 recoveries.
The PNP has one operational reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) laboratory in its headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City. The laboratory can process 150 tests per day.
Another molecular laboratory will soon open in the Cebu Provincial Police Office Headquarters to test more police frontliners.
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