Duterte wants gov’t health facilities to give free COVID-19 tests
MANILA, Philippines — How much would it cost the government to provide Filipinos free COVID-19 tests?
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Monday, during his weekly pre-recorded address, to find out the answer to that question.
“You know, what’s really important, and I realized now, it’s the testing, the swabbing, the test. It’s expensive,” Duterte toldl Duque, speaking partly in Filipino. “So maybe if you can give me a figure, see if there’s money, and we will just buy [testing kits]. And in all government hospitals or in health centers, we will give [tests] free of charge.”
Duterte also asked Duque to aim for the second quarter of 2021 for the roll-out of the government’s free COVID-19 testing.
Last month, Duterte ordered the Department of Health and the Department of Trade and Industry to place a price cap on COVID-19 tests.
Under the two agencies’ joint order, private laboratories can only charge patients from P4,500 to P5,000, while the limit for public laboratories is at P3,800.
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