Nograles thumbs down 'premium' COVID-19 tests

Published May 16, 2021, 10:35 AM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Cabinet Secretary Nograles said there should not be any premium offers for reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in private laboratories because this allows individuals to jump the line.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Nograles made the statement days after the National Capital Region-plus (NCR-plus) bubble area was downgraded to a stricter version of general community quarantine (GCQ) until the end of the month.

In an interview with Super Radyo DZBB, Nograles said the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases is constantly coordinating with private laboratories to hurry up with releasing the results of RT-PCR tests.

He, however, said did not agree with some hospitals or laboratories offering premium services on RT-PCR tests for an extra price.

“Personally, dapat hindi naglalagay ng mga ‘premium-premium’ na ‘yan kasi kumbaga nalalaktawan mo yung linya (I don’t think there should be premium offers because it causes one to jump the queue),” he said on Sunday morning.

“Parang napa-prioritize ka so yung mga nauna, nasisingitan ng priority premium (You are being treated as a priority so you are being pushed up while others continue to wait),” he added.

In November last year, the government has set the price cap of COVID-19 tests in private hubs from P4,500 to P5,000 while it would be P3,800 for public testing centers.

A joint administrative order by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said that the costs associated with a faster turnaround time and other premium services such as home or community swabbing shall be within the mandated price range for testing.

Meanwhile, Nograles urged those who got tested to treat themselves as a positive case as an extra preventive measure.

“Habang hinihintay po natin ang resulta ng ating test, isipin na natin na maaari akong positive (While we are waiting for the result of the test, let’s think that you may be positive already),” he said.

“So nasa responsibilidad ko po na mag-isolate ako. Doble ingat na ako para hindi ako ang nakakahawa (So it’s our responsibility to isolate ourselves. Let’s be extra careful so we won’t infect other people),” he added