With the number of confirmed cases hiking up, about 3,660 patients have been confirmed to be infected by the Coronavirus. This brought the total fatalities to a total of 163. While the entire country amassed to ease the situation, it seems like as days go by, the conditions are just getting worse.
The enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) is doing its job by restricting movement. But is it enough to fully contain the virus and to stop it from spreading more?
Based on the Department of Health’s (DOH) announcement about the mass testing, they clarified that only specific people are going to be qualified to go for it. Ma. Rosario Vergeire, DOH Spokesperson said and clarified that the mass testing discussed is not about testing the entire country; it’s going to be testing of the people who are under investigation (PUI) and monitoring (PUM).
Hindi po ibig sabihin nito na lahat ng Pilipino ay itetest natin. Ang mass testing po na ating sinasabi ay isang malawakang testing ng mga taong at risk sa COVID-19.”
In Translation: This does not mean that each and every Filipino will be tested. The mass testing means that we’re going to have a bigger and a wider scope of testing who are at risk for the COVID-19.
Testing more people who might have been infected
Thousands, if not millions of Filipinos thought that the mass testing that’s about to take place on the 14th of April appeals to all Filipinos living in the island of Luzon. However, this is not the case.
The Department of Health (DOH) Spokesperson said that the entire Health Department agrees with the government’s initiative to assess and test people who can have the disease. In terms of the guidelines on how the mass testing will be, the DOH is yet to provide this.
Further details that people ought to know about what this mass testing would do and exhibit includes:
- Qualifications for testing
- Who would be interpreting the data
- What types of testing kits will be used
Is mass testing a final decision?
Though we clearly see that this is where it’s going, Vergeire said that this specific idea is still not final. The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) is still in the process of weighing out whether or not this is effective. Therefore, we’re still in the midst of really pushing for the mass testing or not.
But based on the data provided by health organizations, a total of 16,368 people have already been tested for the infamous COVID-19. The results are still pending as the capacity of the laboratories accredited is limited.
In addition to the efforts of health establishments in the country, the Spokesperson also said that the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) can conspire to proctor about 900 to 1,200 tests on a daily basis. But this is not the endpoint; in fact, they said that this number can be increased to a minimum of 3,000 per day by the 14th of April and can even increase to 10,000 per day before month-end.
Locally made test kits
Scientists at the University of the Philippines (UP) was able to create and innovate test kits that are Polymerase Chain Reaction-based. It’s soon going to be rolled out for commercial use to be given to six (6) hospitals namely:
- The Medical City (TMC)
- The Philippine General Hospital (PGH)
- Baguio General Hospital (BGH)
- The Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center
- The Makati Medical Center
- Southern Philippines Medical Center
These hospitals will be given 26,000 UP test kits that will be used up until the 25th of April. So basically, at the end of the month, we can expect that there’ll be more testing kits and more hospitals that would be equipped and capable of providing tests to those who are experiencing the symptoms.
In finality, Vergeire said that only accredited and certified laboratories are the ones that are capable of using these test kits. This is for the reason that the PCR-based test kits can only detect the novel coronavirus in the body of the patient; in contrast to the rapid tests which can locate antibodies and fight infection.
In conclusion, the mass testing that will take place starting the 14th of April is not going to be all Filipinos; it’s strictly for people who have been under monitoring and under investigation – those that are more susceptible and more feasible to be infected.
What do you think of the idea of a mass testing? Could this speed up and hasten the process of fighting the infamous 2019 Coronavirus Disease we all loathe? Or can this worsen the situation because of the influx of people?
Source: CNN Philippines