By Genalyn Kabiling
Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) president Vivencio Dizon is the country’s new “test, trace, and treat” (3T) czar, Malacañang announced on Monday.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Dizon has been designated as Chief Coordinator of the government’s 3T program that aims to escalate the country’s testing capacity amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The latest designation came a few days after Dizon was named National Task Force Deputy Chief Implementer of the government’s coronavirus response.
“The President and the IATF have full trust in Vince Dizon to become the T3 czar,” Roque said during a virtual press conference Monday. “Let us trust Dizon to increase the country’s testing capacity, not only by the government, but also the private sector,” he added.
As the stringent quarantine measures have been extended in Metro Manila and several high-risk areas, the government has moved to scale up the country’s healthcare facilities including testing capacity to detect, isolate, and treat patients with infection.
So far, Roque admitted that the country’s cases of coronavirus has soared to 9,223 but the increase is largely due to the government’s increased testing of patients in recent days. He also welcomed that more patients are getting well from the disease. Cases of recoveries have reached 1,214 as of May 3.
As of April 29, Roque said the government has conducted a total of 104,146 polymerase chain reaction tests. The number excludes the coronavirus tests being conducted by the private sector.
The health department recently announced that the country has 22 testing centers for coronavirus disease. The government earlier said it aims to conduct 20,000 daily tests.
On quarantine and isolation facilities, Roque said the government has also established 15 We Heal As One Centers in Metro Manila and nearby provinces. He said Ninoy Aquino Stadium currently has 90 admitted cases while the World Trade Center serves as quarantine center for 384 Filipino repatriates.
The government has placed the National Capital Region, Region III (Central Luzon) except Aurora, Region IV-A (CALABARZON), Pangasinan, Benguet, Iloilo, Cebu, Bacolod City, and Davao City under an enhanced community quarantine until May 15.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has recommenced the inclusion of the province of Albay and Zamboanga City in the ECQ list. President Duterte, however, has yet to decide on the matter, Roque said.
A more relaxed general communty quarantine is now being implemented in several areas with moderate and low risk of coronavirus spread.
Roque said any decision to lift quarantine restrictions in areas will depend on the number of coronavirus cases, health capacity to provide medical attention to patients, and economic factors, among others.