What happened to promise of 50,000 COVID-19 tests per day? – Bayan | Inquirer News
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What happened to promise of 50,000 COVID-19 tests per day? – Bayan

/ 06:19 AM March 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — What happened to the promise for 50,000 tests per day?

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) asked this question in a statement on Monday as the country — Metro Manila in particular — started to see signs of a fresh COVID-19 surge.

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“In May 2020, we were promised by government 50,000 COVID 19 tests daily. From the DOH [Department of Health] data, we haven’t gone beyond 40,000 tests at any time in the last 12 months. It can be said that we are still testing below target,” Bayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes said.

“What happened? And why is no one being held accountable? It is during this critical period that government should be ramping up tests to determine the spread of the disease as COVID cases surge,” he added.

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A check at the DOH COVID-19 tracker site, however, showed that the government was able to make 42,625 tests as early as Sept. 10. The highest number of tests for 2020 came a day after, on Sept. 11 with 44,825 individuals tested.

The highest number of tests done so far, according to DOH’s COVID-19 tracker, was last March 11 with 44,496 tests.

But based on an average number of tests, only an average of 39,393 tests were done from March 7 to March 13, which meant that the government was not even touching its target.

Also, DOH figures also have not shown any point when the country was able to do 50,000 tests per day — a target set last May 2020 and was meant to take effect by June.

Reyes stressed that aggressive COVID-19 testing would be the only way to stop the surge because it would identify positive patients who would need to be isolated.

“Testing is an important step in identifying the carriers of the disease. One year since the lockdown, we continue to grapple with testing backlogs that affect our pandemic response,” he added.

Earlier, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III admitted that the new surge meant that the country was moving closer to levels of infection similar those recorded in August 2020.

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As of Monday, the DOH has recorded 5,404 new COVID-19 infections, pushing the total number of active cases to 53,479. This was the highest daily increase in cases recorded in 2021 and since August 22.

The country now has 626,893 total confirmed cases, with 560,577 of these tagged as recoveries, and 12,837 deaths.

Just recently, analytics group OCTA Research warned that this new COVID-19 surge was spreading faster than initially predicted, which may result in 4,000 new daily cases for Metro Manila by the end of March.

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TAGS: Bayan, coronavirus pandemic, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, Francisco Duque III, Renato Reyes
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