Duque: No evidence yet if asymptomatic COVID-19 patients are contagious


Department of Health Secretary Francisco III said there is no evidence yet that patients could transmit the infection, as the government defends not conducting “mass testing.”

At the Senate Committee of the Whole’s hearing, Sen. Nancy Binay asked Secretary of Health Francisco Duque III what the government is doing with an infected patient who is not showing symptoms because it is a possible “silent spreader” of the disease.


“Ang WHO, hanggang ngayon po, wala po silang ulat o ebidensiyang nakakalap na magpapakita na nakakahawa ang mga asymptomatic. WHO po ‘yan,” aniya.

(The World Health Organization until now has no evidence showing those asymptomatic are contagious.)

According to Duque, they currently have four categories of whom to test, and asymptomatic is not one of them.

The official explained the government has a limited testing capacity, and no country has conducted one-to-one testing.


Also read: De Lima calls gov’t futile for not providing mass testing

No evidence yet if asymptomatic COVID-19 patients are contagious

According to WHO, “current evidence, COVID-19 virus is primarily transmitted between people through respiratory droplets and contact routes.2-7 In an analysis of 75,465 COVID-19 cases in China, airborne transmission was not reported.”

“Transmission of the COVID-19 virus can occur by direct contact with infected people and indirect contact with surfaces in the immediate environment or with objects used on the infected person (e.g., stethoscope or thermometer),” the WHO added. 

Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier defended the administration’s policy of not testing asymptomatic individuals with no exposure to COVID-19 patients.

“85 percent of those who transmitted the disease were symptomatic. Kaya po pinaglalaban namin na huwag i-test ang walang symptoms kasi [that’s why we fought not to test those without symptoms since] it would give a false sense of security,” Vergeire said in a DOH forum.

The DOH Undersecretary earlier said the government is focused on reaching the goal of conducting 30,000 tests per day by the end of May. She said testing asymptomatic people with no exposure to COVID-19 would not contribute to achieving that target. 

As of May 29, the Philippines recorded 13,221 confirmed cases, 842 deaths, and 2,932 recoveries.