By Rizal Obanil
A local official urged the government to oblige returning overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to take a PCR-test. This is to accurately determine whether they are positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) or not.
Marinduque Governor and League of Provinces of the Philippines president Presbitero Velasco Jr., in an interview over Dobol B sa News TV, said that he made this appeal as some OFWs that were allowed to return to their respective provinces were actually infected with COVID-19.
“Malaki po ang problema dahil ‘yung bumabalik na OFWs ay marami po doon kapag po tinesting nila, usually rapid antibody test ang ginagamit, may ilan po na positibo. Malaki po ang kanilang agam-agam at dumadami po ang infected persons na pumapasok,” Velasco said.
(We have a big problem regarding our returning OFWs as many of them are tested using the rapid antibody tests, with some testing positive. There is a growing concern because many of those that have returned are actually infected.)
The Marinduque governor said that the efforts of local government units (LGUs) is affected by this concern, especially if not properly addressed.
Velasco appealed to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) and Health Secretary Francisco Duque to only issue a Department of Health (DOH) certification that the person is negative for COVID-19 if a PCR test was used.
He said that some OFWs were allowed to return to Cebu City, Iloilo and Bacolod.
The PCR test is preferred by experts over the rapid test kits as it can actually detect the SARS-CoV2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus2), the virus that causes COVID-19.
The rapid test only measures the antibodies but not the viral load.