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Government targets 90,000 daily testing for COVID-19
“We really need this done in ECQ areas, we need to intensify the testing capacity. Now, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has authorized the augmentation of PCR tests in NCR-Plus to add 30,000 antigen tests per day,” Dizon said, adding that the goal is to “reach anywhere between 80,000 to 90,000 tests per day.”
STAR/Michael Varcas, file

Government targets 90,000 daily testing for COVID-19

Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - March 31, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — To boost contact tracing and testing efforts, the government is aiming to conduct 30,000 more antigen tests in enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) areas, testing czar Vince Dizon said yesterday.

“We really need this done in ECQ areas, we need to intensify the testing capacity. Now, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has authorized the augmentation of PCR tests in NCR-Plus to add 30,000 antigen tests per day,” Dizon said, adding that the goal is to “reach anywhere between 80,000 to 90,000 tests per day.”

From March 22 to 28, Dizon reported that the government has conducted an average of 51,104 tests per day.

The Office of Civil Defense will be procuring test kits validated by the World Health Organization (WHO) through its Emergency Use Listing, namely, PanBio, SD Biosensor and Florescence antigen test.

Meanwhile, the Office of Vice President (OVP) Leni Robredo yesterday began administering free mobile antigen testing in Brgy. Longos, Potrero, Tonsuya, Tañong and Flores in Malabon City, communities with high transmission rates.

Dubbed as Swab Cab, the free testing aims to help local government units (LGUs) identify positive cases faster for contact tracing and isolation.

Some 419 tests have so far been conducted, yielding 24 positive results, including both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. Contact tracing is being done alongside isolation of positive cases who will undergo confirmatory RT-PCR tests.

Swab Cab, a partnership between UBE Express and the OVP’s Kaya Natin Movement, provided free antigen test kits while the Malabon LGU provided a list of residents who need testing as well as swabbers and additional personnel. Residents also received free face masks and face shields.

Meanwhile, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said Dizon should explain why testing rate did not significantly improve despite rising COVID-19 cases.

“Testing per every new confirmed case has gone down from 25 tests in January 2021 to just 6.8 on March 24, 2021. Countries like Malaysia and Indonesia have seen their testing rate for every confirmed case go up this March,” Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes lamented.

“If he can’t explain the low output and provide a roadmap to 120,000 tests per day, he should be replaced,” Reyes added. – Helen Flores, Rhodina Villanueva

COVID-19 TESTING ECQ
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