By Catherine S Valente/Manila Times
The Philippines aims to conduct 1mn coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) tests by July to boost efforts to shrink the number of infections.
In a virtual press briefing, Deputy chief implementer of the National Policy Against Covid-19 Vivencio “Vince” Dizon said 612,571 tests had been conducted as of June 22.
“With the arrival of our supplies, our goal now is to reach
1mn tests by July so that these will benefit more of our countrymen. So far we have conducted over 600,000 tests,” Dizon said.
Densely populated areas include Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog Region, Cebu, and Davao, he said.
In the next few months, the government will ramp up testing until the target of 10 to 12% of the population is reached, he said.
As of June 19, the country reached a daily testing capacity of 51,302, up by 2,465% from the 2,000 in March.
The country now has 66 testing laboratories, of which the government runs 41.
The rest are privately owned and one is a public-private partnership entity.
Dizon said with the arrival of over a million test kits on June 21, the government expects to expand its testing to include
non-medical frontliners such as security personnel and food establishment workers.
Malacanang has maintained that the government has done a “very good job” in responding to the coronavirus disease pandemic.
Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr made the statement after Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo hit the government’s “lack of sense of urgency” in handling the pandemic.
Roque insisted that the government took the right steps to address the global health crisis.
“We’re third in Asean but I think worldwide, we have done a very good job, specially in limiting mortality,” Roque said.
Robredo, in a television interview, said authorities appeared to be slow in the procurement of personal protective equipment sets for medical frontliners.
But Roque said if not for the government’s imposition of strict quarantine measures, at least 200,000 deaths would have been recorded.
“Millions could have gotten the disease and a minimum of 200,000 persons would have died if we did not impose a lockdown. I think we did the right steps though we strive to do better and let’s see if we could implement new strategies,” he added.
Roque advised Robredo to ask him for information on the country’s response to the pandemic after the opposition leader also said there was “not enough information” on how government funds were spent.
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