WHO reminder: Testing negative for coronavirus doesn’t mean you can party
MANILA, Philippines — The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday told the public that just because they have tested negative for the new coronavirus doesn’t mean they can already go about their usual activities.
Mike Ryan, the WHO’s health emergencies program executive director, said that if someone tested negative for the virus, whether through the standard RT-PCR-based (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) test or antigen test, that only indicated someone’s status on that particular day.
Testing has specific purpose
“[Testing tells you] whether you have an active infection. It tells you nothing about what your status will be tonight, tomorrow or the next day. To base your activities or behavior on that is frankly a dangerous thing to do,” Ryan said at a briefing in Geneva.
Ryan issued the reminder as he noted that the WHO had become aware of people who see their negative tests as reason for them to go out or to party. He stressed that not only was this dangerous but also “short-sighted.”
“Testing has a very specific purpose. It’s there to pick up people who are sick or people who have the disease in order [for them] to get care and [for authorities to] identify contacts,” Ryan said.
“Not a passport’
“Testing is not a passport to doing whatever you want to do,” he added.
Data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed that since February the Philippines recorded 423,523 positive tests, including repeat tests, from 4,353,933 people tested for the coronavirus.
Of the 19,677 tests done Monday noon, 1,473 were positive, translating to a positivity rate of 7.5 percent.
Earlier, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the apparent downward trend in new infections shouldn’t lull the public into complacency at a time when the economy was slowly reopening.
Vergeire asked that health measures such as wearing masks, frequent hand-washing, and physical distancing should continue to be observed for the country to sustain the trend.
“We do not want to be complacent at this point because we can still see clusters in some areas,” she said.
On Tuesday, the national case tally climbed to 373,144 with 1,524 additional infections. Negros Occidental accounted for the most number of cases, 115, followed by Cavite (76), Benguet (72), Quezon City (67) and Laguna (65).
The DOH said 353 more patients had recovered, raising the overall number of COVID-19 survivors to 328,602. The death toll, however, increased to 7,053 as 14 more patients succumbed to the severe respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.
The recoveries and deaths left the country with 37,489 active cases, or 10 percent of the total, of which 82.8 percent were mild, 11 percent asymptomatic, 2.2 percent severe, and 4 percent critical.
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