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2 million Filipinos tested for COVID-19 by August, testing czar vows

The number of Filipinos tested for COVID-19 virus will have reached two million by August, testing czar Vince Dizon said Thursday.

Dizon said the country is on track to meet such a target, considering that it already breached its earlier target of conducting 30,000 tests per day last July 25 with 33,000 tests conducted.

“Halos 1.4 milyon na po ang na-test natin, at kampante po tayo na hihigit sa dalawang milyon ang mate-test sa buwan ng Agosto,” Dizon said at a Palace briefing.

Based on Health Department’s records, there are at least 1.32 million Filipinos tested for COVID-19 as of July 28.

Dizon said such number is more than the number of individuals tested by Malaysia (932,000), Japan (780,000) and Indonesia (700,000).

“With almost 1.4 million tested, ilang linggo lang po ay malalampasan natin ang South Korea (1.5 million),” Dizon added.

Likewise, Dizon assured that frontliners will be tested for COVID-19 regularly using Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test for free courtesy of state insurer PhilHealth.

These frontliners include health care workers, police officers, soldiers, public utility vehicle drivers, those with co-morbidities as advised by their doctor, tourism workers such as waiters and tour guides, workers in special economic zones in Calabarzon and Central Luzon, as well as mall employees.

In addition, Dizon said the government is already conducting a pilot run of pool testing—a process wherein one testing kit is used to test multiple samples.

“Itong pilot test po ay ginagawa na ng RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine) at Project ARK sa NCR (National Capital Region). Pag na-validate po ito, puwede na natin itong gawin,” Dizon said.

“Mas mabilis po ito at mas mura, at iyan po ang gusto nating gawin. Napakalaking tulong po nito at mas marami tayong mate-test,” Dizon added.

The Philippines has at least 85,486 COVID-19 cases as of the moment. Of this number, 26,996 have recovered while 1,962 have died.

This leaves the number of active COVID-19 cases at 56,528. -MDM/RSJ, GMA News