Almost 10K COVID-19 cases and gov't not testing enough, expanding health care system — Bayan | Inquirer News
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Almost 10K COVID-19 cases and gov’t not testing enough, expanding health care system — Bayan

/ 06:24 PM March 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — As the country breaks again its record for the highest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases, an activist group has called on the government to expand its testing scope and healthcare capacity to avoid overwhelming hospitals.

According to Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), the country is already nearing the 10,000 marks for daily COVID-19 cases but the country has yet to ramp up testing.

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On Friday, data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed that the country has registered 9,838 additional infections — the fourth time that the Philippines broke the record for new cases in just a week’s span.

“Nine thousand, eight hundred-thirty-eight new cases today. We are nearing the 10K mark and still, we are not testing enough and expanding the capacity of our health care system,” Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes said in a statement sent to reporters.

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“Data today shows a 17.3% daily positivity rate but only 32k tests. This is too low considering the rapid increase in infections,” he added.

According to the DOH COVID-19 bulletin, the country only made over 30,000 tests on Thursday, which lies around the range of tests done when the country was not yet experiencing a new and quicker surge of infections.

As of Friday, the country has over 109,000 active cases, owing to exponential increases in the past week.  Last Friday, March 19, the country recorded its highest number of new cases then, at 7,103.

By Saturday, it jumped to 7,999 new cases, then to 8,019 on Monday.  On Thursday, it was at 8,773.

This is not the first time Bayan and critics of the administration called on DOH and the national government to ramp up testing: last March 16, Reyes asked the government about its promise to do 50,000 tests in a day, to ensure that other possible infections are covered and monitored.

Since the pandemic started, the country has yet to reach its target of 50,000 tests per day, Bayan said.

When COVID-19 cases started to pile up, Vice President Leni Robredo suggested that more tests should be done as the current number may not fully reveal how bad the surge is, which has been attributed to the spread of COVID-19 variants of concern.

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Bayan said that the government must present a strong and widespread mass testing plan, and that it should not be reliant on the private sector to increase swab tests.

“What is the national government’s plan to ramp up free mass testing? O bahala na LGU at private sector? Hindi pwede yun,” Reyes noted.

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TAGS: Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, contact tracing, COVID-19 surge, Department of Health, mass testing, Renato Reyes
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