By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senator Joel Villanueva has called on the government to come up with clear and concrete plans as to how it will conduct the mass testing of suspected COVID-19 cases and improve the country’s testing capacity.
In his comments to President Duterte’s second report on the implementation of the Republic Act No. 11469, or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, Villanueva noted the lack of details on the administration’s plan for “systematic” contact tracing and mass testing, the expediting the accreditation and production of test kits, as well as increasing the capability of the health sector to conduct tests.
“With an average of 7.64 percent daily growth rate of infections, the country clearly needs to trace and test more people,” Villanueva said in his recommendations, a copy of which was published in the Senate’s website.
Among others, he said he hopes to see “clear” figures on the target number of test kits needed in the country and a strategy in its distribution and use for mass testing and for tracing those who had close contact with confirmed COVID-19 patients.
In his April 6 report to Congress, Duterte said the Department of Health (DOH) has accredited eight COVID-19 testing laboratories, including four in Metro Manila and one each in the cities of Baguio, Cebu, Davao, and Iloilo. Around 100,000 testing kits have been delivered to these eight facilities.