HPAAC recommends targeted testing amid surge in COVID-19 cases

Instead of mass testing, the Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC) has recommended targeted testing amid the surge in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

"We recommend targeted testing with proper counselling and advice, proper management of individuals based on their test results and circumstances," said HPAAC in a statement Tuesday, April 6.

"We recommend that our stretched testing capacity be used on those who need it most – individuals who are suspected of having COVID-19 based on symptoms and history of close contact," added the group.

HPAAC believes indiscriminate mass testing is neither feasible nor practical.

"In a country like the Philippines, already having difficulties in testing, tracing, and treatment of a surge of symptomatic cases, indiscriminate mass testing of asymptomatic individuals using tests with suboptimal sensitivity is neither feasible nor practical," said the group.

"We do not recommend any tests on individuals who are asymptomatic and have no history of close contact," HPAAC added.

The group said mass testing without proper counselling on the implications of the results will likely lead to complacency and false sense of security if test results are negative.

HPAAC also said that having false positive results can lead to undue panic, stigma, and unnecessary isolation.