PH’s capability to conduct COVID-19 tests ‘significantly improved’

Published April 3, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Martin Sadongdong

The Philippine government’s capability to conduct coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) tests have “significantly improved,” the chief implementor of the government’s policy against the fatal illness declared on Friday night.

Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez Jr. (OPAPP / MANILA BULLETIN)
National Action Plan (NAP) chief Carlito G. Galvez Jr.

National Action Plan (NAP) chief Carlito Galvez, Jr., secretary of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (OPAPRU), said they are now aiming to conduct 2,000 to 3,000 tests per day to determine the extent of the spread of the disease.

“We are in a race against time as we try our best to flatten the curve and slow down the spread of the disease,” Galvez said in a virtual briefing held at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

“This is the reason why our main focus now is to ramp up the capability of the DOH [Department of Health] to conduct mass testing for COVID-19 frontliners and also for PUIs (persons under investigation) and PUMs (persons under monitoring),” he added.

As of 4 p.m. Friday, Galvez said the Health department has already tested 16,268 individuals.

According to the DOH, there have been 3,018 confirmed cases with 136 deaths and 52 recoveries as of the said period.

Further, Galvez emphasized the importance of mass testing for frontliners, PUIs, and PUMs to “efficiently identify, isolate, and treat” those who will test positive for the disease.

He bared that there are around 3,000 to 6,000 PUIs and PUMs in the country right now.

“Mas maganda po iyon para at least hindi na sila magpalaboy-laboy at ating matreat nang maaaga ang COVID-19 patients (It is better to conduct mass testing so that the COVID-19 patients will be prevented from loitering and we can treat them earlier,” Galvez noted.

Meanwhile, the number of accredited COVID-19 testing centers in the country has increased to nine.

These are the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa City, San Lazaro Hospital and UP National Health Institute in Manila, Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City, Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, Western Visayas Medical Center in Iloilo City, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City, Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City, and Bicol Public Health Laboratory.

The capability of the government to conduct more tests are seen to further improve as Galvez said nine more hospitals are being evaluated to identify whether or not they can be used as COVID-19 testing centers.