The Philippine government aims to cover nearly a tenth of the Filipino population in COVID-19 tests in less than a year, according to testing czar Vince Dizon on Monday.
During an interview on CNN-Philippines, Dizon said other non-medical frontliners in the country must be included in the expanded testing to keep the economy up and going.
"Secretary Galvez announced that given the supplies that are coming in, and given our increased capacity to test and screen, our goal is to test 10 million Filipinos... Given the capacity, we're looking at the next eight to ten months," Dizon said.
"You cannot test 10 million in a few weeks or in a few months. It's just not possible. Given the capacity that we have, we have to program our testing in a smart way with the end objective of keeping the economy open," he added.
The cashiers in groceries, ambulant vendors, and workers in critical economic zones are among those who must be covered by the expanded testing, according to Dizon.
He added that the COVID-19 testing target must be met through a whole-of-government approach.
Last week, Dizon said the country has surpassed its COVID-19 daily testing capacity goal of 50,000 tests by the end of June. The actual testing capacity per day, however, is only at 16,000.
The Department of Health previously said the government targets to test 1.5% of the nearly 110 million population by the end of July.
As of June 27, a total of 636,291 individuals have undergone COVID-19 testing in the country. Confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines have reached over 35,000, based on latest data from the DOH. — RSJ, GMA News