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Philippines now conducting 6,320 tests daily, says DOH exec

With only two days left before the end of April, the Department of Health (DOH) reported on Tuesday that the country’s testing capacity for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has increased to 6,320 tests per day.

“Ginagawa po ng DOH ang lahat ng makakaya nito upang paigtingin pa natin ang ating testing capacity,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said at a virtual press briefing.

The DOH earlier said it hopes to expand the testing capacity to 8,000 to 10,000 daily by the end of the month. 

Earlier, Carlito Galvez, the chief implementer of the government’s COVID-19 response, said they are targeting a daily testing capacity of 20,000 by May 15, the scheduled lifting of the enhanced community quarantine over several “high-risk” areas. 

Vergeire said they are procuring more equipment and supplies for laboratories, hiring more health workers, speeding up the certification of testing centers, activating GeneXpert laboratories, and partnering with the private sector. 

Nineteen laboratories nationwide have so far been certified to conduct independent COVID-19 testing, while tens of others are currently undergoing the laboratory accreditation process.

Vergeire said that 84,738 people have been tested for COVID-19 as of Monday, 74,743 or 88.2% of whom were negative while 9,858 or 11.63% tested positive.

Data from the DOH show that the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and the Philippine Red Cross have the highest maximum daily testing capacity at 1,500 each.

The Philippines has recorded 7,958 COVID-19 cases with 975 recoveries and 530 deaths as of Tuesday afternoon. — RSJ, GMA News