MANILA, Philippines — The government is eyeing to start the massive testing of suspected coronavirus patients on April 14, National Task Force (NTF) COVID-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. said Thursday.
In a press briefing, Galvez, the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process, said they are asking the Department of Health (DOH) to fast track the processing of request for accreditation of hospitals for COVID-19 testing.
To date, the former Armed Forces chief said the Philippines has nine accredited hospitals conducting coronavirus tests for patients under investigation (PUIs) and monitoring (PUMs).
“We are also determined to fast-track the accreditation of subnational laboratories so we can start the massive testing for PUIs and PUMs. We expect that by April 14, we shall be able to start massive testing,” Galvez said.
Calls for mass testing of suspected coronavirus carriers have circulated in the past two weeks, but DOH noted there was no need for that at the moment amid limited laboratory capacity.
As of Thursday afternoon, the Philippines has 2,633 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 107 of whom have died while 51 managed to recover.
Earlier, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the increasing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases was the result of the health department’s expanded capacity to test for the coronavirus following the acquisition of thousands of testing kits and the designation of additional laboratories for reducing the backlog of samples.
Even as the death toll continues to dominate the number of recoveries in the country, Galvez expressed optimism that the latter will pick up soon as most of COVID-19 patients are confined in the country’s “best hospitals.”
“I am very confident we will increase recovery. More than 500 COVID-19 patients located in our best hospitals,” he said.
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