MANILA — Testing for COVID-19 in the Philippines significantly dropped on Sunday and Monday, based on Department of Health (DOH) data.
ABS-CBN Data Analytics Head Edson Guido said that while the average number of tests conducted daily for September was at 37,000, the numbers notably dropped on Sept. 20 and 21.
DOH data showed that for Sept. 20, tests conducted were at 26,076, while Sept. 21 saw only 24,690 screenings for the new coronavirus.
It was on Sept. 20 that some laboratories also failed to submit their data for the country's COVID-19 tally.
At least 30,000 tests were conducted daily for the first 19 days of September, even peaking at 46,527 tests on Sept. 11, Guido said.
He said the average number of tests for September (based on latest data) was “better than the nearly 35,000 daily recorded in August.”
The government previously targeted 8,000 tests per day by the end of April, a goal met on May 10.
For the end of May, it targeted 30,000 tests a day, but this was only achieved on July 22, Guido said.
The government has yet to announce a new goal for testing.
Previously, the late reporting of laboratories affected the daily official tally. There were also operational problems with laboratories in the past months, resulting in some of them halting or scaling down laboratory work.
ABS-CBN News asked the DOH why there was a recent drop in tests done but has yet to receive a response.
According to the latest DOH report, a total of 3,227,167 individuals have been tested for COVID-19, as of Sept. 21.
As of Sept. 22, the country has 100 accredited RT-PCR laboratories, and 30 licensed genexpert labs.
On Tuesday, newly-announced COVID-19 cases in the Philippines was only at 1,635, taking the country's cumulative total to 291,789.
The last time the country had additional cases below the 2,000 mark was 2 weeks ago, leading some to think the number of cases is already on a decline. However, it went back to the 3,000- to 4,000-level by Sept. 8.
The DOH has partly attributed the spike in cases before to expanded testing and improved contact tracing.
Meanwhile, it has also acknowledged the continued increase in cases and clusters in various communities.