A call for public safety: Expert reiterates importance of COVID-19 testing

A public health expert reiterated his call for the national government to prioritize the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing, saying that this is an “essential pillar” to curb the pandemic.

(Manila Bulletin File Photo)

“Sana ginawa muna natin ang pagtitibay ng healthcare capacity. Tatanggalin mo ang testing eh essential pillar ‘yan to curb the pandemic. Kung wala kang testing, wala ka ring ia-isolate, wala ka ring iqua-quarantine (I hope we’ve strengthen the healthcare capacity fist. Why will we remove testing if this is an essential pillar to curb the pandemic? If we don’t have testing, we don’t have to be isolated, we also don’t have to undergo quarantine),” said public health expert and former National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 medical adviser Dr. Anthony “Tony” Leachon in an interview over DZMM TeleRadyo on Saturday, Jan. 29.

The statement came after Malacañang, on Friday, Jan. 28, announced that fully vaccinated inbound travelers will no longer be required to undergo a facility-based quarantine beginning Feb. 1.

Leachon, on the other hand, said that removing the COVID-19 test upon arrival in the country, even for vaccinated travelers, will potentially trigger a viral spread of the disease.

“Ang testing kasi importante ‘yan. Napaglaanan ba natin ng pondo? Nabigyan na ba natin ang mga baranggay may maibigay sa mga locality? Are we really willing to do that? (Testing is important. Have we allocated funds? Have we given funds to the local government units so they can give something to the locality? Are we really willing to do that?) ,” he said.

The health expert previously called on the government to provide free antigen test kits, especially in the workplace, in order for the public to have themselves tested if signs and symptoms of COVID-19 occur.

“We need to put in place the medical safeguards and that’s actually emanating from testing first so we can isolate, trace, and prevent the virus spread in the locality,” he added.