By Jeffrey Damicog
National Action Plan on COVID-19 Deputy Chief Implementer Vicencio “Vince” Dizon is seeking to have all frontliners tested since they are the “biggest potential spreaders” of the coronavirus.
“We need to expand now to test all frontliners, even those who are non-medical,” Dizon said during an interview over CNN Philippines.
“We got to test those people. Why? Because they have the most contact with people and they are the most susceptible to get sick and they are also the biggest potential spreaders to the wider population,” he added.
Dizon said these frontliners include the policemen, the soldiers, the cashiers in the supermarket, and even sari-sari stores and street vendors.
“That is our recommendation which we will be presenting,” he said.
Aside from the frontliners, Dizon said the second group that the government should prioritize for testing are those in “critical economic areas or economic zones.”
They include “those who work in manufacturing, in our factories, those who work in our economic zones, and those who work in sectors that are very important like the BPO sector which provides so much to the economy.”
“The idea now is we have to shift the strategy in order to manage COVID-19 and keep the economy open and working in order to make sure that we are able to bounce back from the contraction that we experienced in the first quarter and definitely in the second quarter,” he said.
“So, we have to manage it and the key to managing it is to ramp up testing in those sectors that I mentioned and we have to do it immediately,” Dizon said.
Dizon said the government only limited testing to those with COVID-19 symptoms due to the country’s lack of laboratories and testing supplies a few months ago.
“But now, we have the labs. We have now 68 labs. We have the capacity. We have the supplies. We should and we can expand that to other segments of the population that need to be tested,” he said.