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More Philippine laboratories to conduct COVID-19 testing —WHO

The sub-national laboratories of four hospitals in the Philippines will begin conducting tests for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on Thursday, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO said the laboratories of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, San Lazaro Hospital, Southern Philippines Medical Center, and Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center will now be operational, soon to be followed by the University of the Philippines’ National Institutes of Health.

“WHO is supporting the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) with the assessment of an additional six private laboratories for COVID-19 testing,” the organization added in its sixth situation report on the Philippines.

The RITM has also increased its daily testing capacity from 300 to 450 tests after additional supplies were donated by the WHO.

The WHO said it is working with the Asian Development Bank to support the Department of Health (DOH) in sourcing urgently needed laboratory supplies such as reagents, primers, probes, and extraction kits.

“No rapid testing kit has so far been certified by WHO or the DOH’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the country. Validation processes are ongoing by WHO at global level and by FDA at national level,” the organization said.

The DOH’s online COVID-19 tracker shows that it has so far conducted 1,030 tests.

The disease has claimed 17 lives and infected 202 people in the Philippines as of Wednesday. Julia Mari Ornedo/MDM, GMA News