The Philippine government is aiming to conduct 20,000 tests for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) daily by May 15, the scheduled lifting of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in some areas of the country.
National Task Force COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. made the remark on Tuesday during the virtual meeting of the House Defeat COVID-19 Committee.
"We will work on the 20,000 tests per day not later than 15 May 2020 and 30,000 tests per day not later than 30 May 2020 with a 24 to 48-hour release of the results," he added.
According to Galvez, the country's testing capacity for COVID-19 is currently at least 10,000 per day, with all persons under investigation and monitoring as well as healthcare workers and frontliners being tested.
Their plan now is to conduct massive, expanded and aggressive testing of all PUIs, PUMs and frontliners in the National Capital Region (NCR) not later May 2020, he said.
"We consider that the NCR is the epicenter considering that it has the affectation of 70% and we believe that the NCR is the center of gravity," Galvez said.
"Once we have finished and are able to flatten the curve in NCR, we believe we are 70% finished and win the fight against COVID," he added.
Aside from this, Galvez said they are also looking into clearing all PUIs, suspected COVID-19 cases, and frontliners in so-called "red areas" or those that declared enhanced community quarantine not later than May 15.
Currently, the government is in coordination with the Philippine Red Cross in the conduct of COVID-19 tests, Galvez said.
"With the increased capacity of the Philippine Red Cross, we are very confident that we can get more or less 15,000 targeted to be tested in NCR. Because we believe that if we'll be able to test the NCR and Region III and IV, 80% ng problem natin will be solved," he said.
As of Tuesday, there are a total of 7,958 cases of COVID-19 reported in the Philippines, with 530 deaths and 975 recoveries. — RSJ, GMA News