IATF OKs expansion of COVID-19 testing to include asymptomatic patients

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 03 2020 01:41 PM

Barangay health workers prepare for another batch of residents to be tested for COVID-19 at the Baclaran Elementary School in Parañaque City on May 21, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The government's inter-agency task force on pandemic response has approved the expansion of the country's coronavirus testing program to include those without symptoms of COVID-19, Malacañang said Friday.

Guidelines on the testing protocol will soon be released by the National Task Force on pandemic response and the Department of Health, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said.

"In principle, approved na po na we will test beyond those who are symptomatic," Roque said in a virtual press briefing.

Under the government's expanded targeted COVID-19 testing program, symptomatic patients and health workers on the frontlines of the battle against the pandemic are prioritized for testing.

The expansion of the testing program comes as the Philippines gain some 10 million COVID-19 testing kits, Roque said.

"Kasama na po sa ite-test ay hindi lamang ang mga symptomatic at hindi lamang 'yung nagkaroon ng contact sa mayroong COVID-19, kasama na rin po ang mga asymptomatic," he added.

(We will not just test symptomatic patients and those with contact with COVID-19 patients but also those who are asymptomatic.)

Philippine COVID-19 testing czar Vince Dizon earlier said the Philippines has the capacity to run over 50,000 tests for COVID-19 per day but the country has yet to maximize this.

As of this week, the Philippines only runs an average of 14,000 COVID-19 tests per day according to the Department of Health.

The Philippines as of July 2 has confirmed 38,805 cases of COVID-19. This includes 1,274 deaths and 10,673 recoveries.