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Now Reading: MASS TESTING | Gov’t wants expanded COVID-19 screening by mid-April
MASS TESTING | Gov’t wants expanded COVID-19 screening by mid-April
April 2, 2020 , 09:44 PM

(April 2, 2020) – The Philippine government is eyeing to do mass testing for suspected coronavirus carriers by April 14, a senior administration official said Thursday.

Presidential peace adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. said that they have asked the health department to ramp up the accreditation of more COVID-19 laboratories.

Galvez, a former armed forces chief, was tapped as chief implementor of the government’s National Action Plan to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are also determined to fast-track the accreditation of substantial laboratories so we can start massive testing of persons under investigation (PUI) and persons under monitoring (PUM),” he said at a press briefing.

A list from the health department showed there are eight laboratories conducting tests for the virus as of April 2.

Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire also reported on Wednesday that around 16,000 tests have been done by different medical facilities.

Health officials have initially been incapable of doing mass testing due to the limited capabilities of laboratories and the scarcity of test kits.

Galvez also reported that government will begin putting PUIs and PUMs under “forced quarantine” in identified sites across the capital region once the facilities are done being converted.

“Yung forced quarantine is separate from our strategy from the lockdown,” he said. “Ito ay complementary strategy in order to protect, isolate, and treat COVID patients.”

“Tatanggalin natin sa ating community yung mga affected na COVID possible carriers,” Galvez added.

Authorities have identified this week several mass quarantine sites in Manila and its neighboring cities. These include the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila, the Philippine International Convention Center, the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Pasay, and Duty Free in Parañaque.

The Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine is set to expire by April 14, but Galvez said officials have yet to decide what comes after.

Coronavirus infections in the Philippines soared to 2,633 on Thursday as health officials report 322 new cases. The death toll is at 107, with 51 recoveries. (Christian de Lano Deiparine/JBS)

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