DOH targets to lower price of RT-PCR tests – Duque

The is taking measures to lower the price cap for swab tests or RT-PCR tests, DOH chief Francisco Duque said Friday.

“That is P1.4 billion a day. That is P14 billion every 10 days. I’d rather put that money for my healthcare worker benefits, for ayuda (aid) in communities doing granular lockdowns. That’s the way to put this huge sums of money to best use,” Duque told ANC’s Headstart.

“We continue our targeted risk-based testing. Alam naman natin sino bang naoospital, sino ba ang nagsesevere (We know who are hospitalized, who becomes severe).”

Earlier, the World Health Organization’s representative to the Philippines urged the government to allocate its confirmatory testing for vulnerable sectors such as the elderly, healthcare workers, and persons with comorbidities.

Currently, RT-PCR tests cost P2,800 for plate-based and P2,450 for GeneXpert in public laboratories, P3,360 for plate-based and P2,940 for GeneXpert in private laboratories, and P1,000 for both plate-based and GeneXpert for services.

“We’re working to lower the price, we already lowered it from what it used to be,” Duque said.

DOH targets to lower price of RT-PCR tests – Duque

“We’ll review again, we need to scope the market we see more and more players, testing kit manufacturers are in the market. I’m sure this is going to push the prices down.”

The DOH chief said contact tracing is also no longer a priority in areas with high transmission, such as the National Capital Region (NCR).

“If you’re in a high transmission area, contact tracing will have to be poured in other like in isolation and quarantine monitoring,” Duque said.

“It is still very necessary especially in low transmission areas so we can cut the chain transmission. In high transmission areas, very explosive eh, bago ka matapos ng contact tracing, nahawaan na (before you can finish contact tracing, people have already gotten infected).”

COVID-19 once again hit a record high of 34,021 new cases on Thursday, bringing the total number to 3,092,409.

In Case Bulletin No. 670, a 47.9% positivity rate is recorded in 78,866 individuals born in COVID-19 tests on January 11th.

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