Gov't eyes increasing COVID-19 testing capacity to 20,000 daily

Published May 2, 2020, 1:06 PM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Argyll Geducos

As the country continues to fight the threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Malacañang said the government is aiming to attain a daily testing capacity of up to 20,000 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests per day.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the announcement as the Department of Health (DOH) reported a total of 8,722 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country as of May 1.

In an interview over state-run PTV-4 Saturday, Roque said the government’s goal is now to test more people daily.

“Ang ating goal po ay magkaroon ng at least 20,000 a day PCR testing. Tapos sa rapid testing naman po, dapat umabot tayo ng 2.2 million. Ang total testing na tina-target natin sa pamamagitan ng PCR ay 900,000 (Our goal is to have at least 20,000 PCR tests per day while we want to conduct 2.2 million rapid tests. Our target is to conduct 900,000 PCR tests),” he said.

Last month, President Duterte ordered the procurement of antibody rapid test kits to boost the country’s testing capacity despite the lack of guidelines.

In his interview, Roque said the private sector has been in coordination with Project Antibody Rapid Test Kits (ARK) and the Department of Health (DOH) to test at least 800,000 employees of private companies who are part of Project ARK.

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion said last week that the private sector-led initiative has generated 805,868 rapid testing kits from more than 100 companies.

According to Roque, Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President Vince Dizon is tasked to oversee the conduct of tests in the country.

“Na-italaga po si BCDA President Vince Dizon upang maging deputy implementer ng COVID-19. At isa sa kanyang katungkulan ay yung TTT (Test, Trace, and Treat) at kasama nga diyan ang testing (BCDA President and CEO Vince Dizon was named deputy implementer and one of his duties is the TTT which includes testing),” he said.

Dizon was appointed to the position “to ensure the continuous and effective delivery of public service.” Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez, on the other hand, stays as the chief implementer of the national policy.