DOH expands COVID-19 testing for economy’s reopening

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The Department of Health expanded the testing guidelines for COVID-19, which now included teachers, tourism, manufacturing, and transportation workers, among related sectors.

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergiere said in a press conference Wednesday that Secretary Francisco Duque III already signed the new testing guidelines.

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“[Na]-expand pa further [ang ating] guidelines, including the expansion of sub-groups to be tested,” Vergeire said, noting that the expansion is a preparation for the gradual reopening of the economy.

Vergeire said the following groups would be included in COVID-19 testing as mandated by the new guidelines:

  • frontliners in tourist zones
  • workers in manufacturing companies and public service providers
  • employees in economic zones
  • drivers, “konduktor,” pilots, flight attendants
  • waiters, restaurant managers
  • bank tellers
  • cashiers, clerk, messengers, security guard, among others

Vergeire added that they would also test residents in areas with reported clustering of COVID-19 cases.

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Chief testing czar in the fight against COVID-19, Vince Dizon, said Tuesday that the government already tested more than 1 million individuals but this is still not enough.

“As of today, we hit 1 million,” Dizon said in a press conference in Taguig City. “Pero, still it’s not enough. It’s just a start. It’s reflective of the challenges we face in the first couple of months.”

Also read: Surge in COVID cases due to community transmission – DOH

Vince Dizon said last month, the government targets to conduct 10 million tests in the next eight to 10 months.

He added that with a target of 30,000 tests daily, the government had already reached 25,000 tests a day on July 9.

Dizon also praised the mayors of Metro Manila for its 15,000 to 16,000 daily testing. He described the capital’s testing as aggressive.

“Kung hindi ka magte-test, papabayaan mo na lang silang nandiyan sa communities. Hindi nila alam nakakahawa na sila dahil hindi nila alam na may sakit na sila,” he said.

(If there is no testing, you just let them stay in the communities. They do not know that they are already transmitting the disease.)

“So, very important ‘yun,” he added.

As of this posting, the Philippines has 85 COVID-19 testing laboratories nationwide, unlike before, where Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) is the only testing center in the country.

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