PH to ramp up COVID-19 testing — Dizon

Published March 30, 2021, 3:17 PM

by Gabriela Baron

The government is eyeing to ramp up the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing in the country, Testing czar Vince Dizon said Tuesday, March 30.

(Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg)

In a virtual Malacañang press briefing, Dizon said 500,000 antigen test kits will be deployed all over Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal in the next two weeks.

“Nagdesisyon po ang IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) na magdagdag po tayo ng 30,000 antigen tests per day pero limitado lang po ito sa NCR plus, dahil ang antigen tests ay ginagamit lamang sa area na mataas ang prevalence ng COVID-19. (The IATF has decided to add 30,000 antigen tests per day, but this is limited to NCR plus only, because antigen tests are only used in areas with high prevalence of COVID-19),” he added.

The antigen tests will primarily be used in hospitals and barangays with high COVID-19 infections. 

“Ito po ay gagamitin ng mga ospital para i-test ang kanilang pasyente at pati na rin ang kanilang mga healthcare workers. Ito rin po ang gagamitin ng ating mayors para mag-test sa mga lugar, lalong-lalo na yung mga barangay na mataas ang prevalence at mataas ang mga kaso (This will be used by hospitals to test their patients as well as their healthcare workers. This will also be used by our mayors to test areas, especially barangays with high infections),” Dizon said.

With that, the country’s testing capacity will increase from the daily 51,000 tests to 80,000 to 90,000 tests per day, according to Dizon.

The testing czar said the government will only use antigen kits validated by the World Health Organization and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

Dizon added that the Office of Civil Defense is only allowed to procure the antigen kit brands Abbott’s Panbio COVID-19 Ag rapid test kit, SD Biosensor test kit, and Lansion test kit.