By Martin Sadongdong
The government is now capable of conducting more than 4,200 samples of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) every day as part of expanded and aggressive targeted testing and contact tracing efforts to defeat the dreaded illness.
This was made possible with the accreditation of more testing centers nationwide, said National Task Force (NTF) COVID-19 spokesperson Restituto Padilla Jr.
“From 600 individuals, umakyat na sa 4,286 tests ang daily cumulative count natin (From 600 individuals, our daily cumulative count has increased to 4,286 tests daily,” Padilla said in a virtual presser on Thursday night.
At present, there are already 16 laboratories that are capable of processing COVID samples, with the Philippine Red Cross facility in Mandaluyong City the latest center to be accredited by the Department of Health (DOH).
Initially, only the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) is capable of conducting COVID tests in the country.
Padilla said more testing centers will be accredited soon should they pass the evaluation being conducted by the DOH.
Earlier, NTF COVID-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said the target capacity of the government is 10,000 tests per day.
Aside from this, President Duterte had approved the recommendation of the task force to procure 900,000 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test kits and two million rapid test kits for P3.3 billion.
Padilla said this will boost the capability of the government to intensify the targeted testing for suspected and probable COVID-19 carriers.
He then reiterated the call of the task force to localize the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP), involving the local chief executives from the barangay level to the city, provincial and regional mayors or governors.
“Ang pag-synchronize at pag-integrate ng mga efforts ng national at local governments ay makakatulong sa mas agarang pag-flatten ng curve, inaasahan din natin na mababawasan ang bagong COVID-19 cases, bababa ang bilang ng mga namatay at tataas ang bilang ng mga nakakarekover na pasyente (Synchronizing and integrating the efforts of the national and local government units will help in the immediate flattening of the curve, the number of new COVID-19 cases will decrease, the number of deaths will go down and the number of patients who will recover will increase),” Padilla said.
As of Thursday, the DOH has recorded 5,660 confirmed cases with 362 deaths and 435 recoveries in the country.