DOH wants test 1.5% of PH population by July

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Health workers from the municipal government of Cainta, Rizal, take a blood sample from a household who had contact to a suspected COVID-19 patient during a rapid diagnostic mass testing in Brgy. Sto. Nino on April, 27, 2020. Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

The Department of Health (DOH) is planning to test 1.5 percent of the Philippine population for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) by the end of July.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the agency wants to maximize the country’s testing capacity which is currently at 50,000 per day. In reality, laboratories are only able to conduct 10,000 to 11,000 tests per day.

“Mayroon na ho tayong strategies na ini-employ (We are employing strategies) for these things para po magkaroon tayo nang stable na outputs (so that we can have stable outputs) per day and hopefully we can reach this goal of having 1.5 percent of the population tested by the end of July,” she said.

To be able to maximize the testing capacity, Vergeire said there should be an increase in samples submitted to laboratories.

Vergeire said there should also be more laboratories licensed to operate in the country. From the current 59 labs, the DOH plans to increase number to 60 to 65 labs by end of July.

According to President Rodrigo Duterte’s 11th report to Congress on Covid-19 response, a total of 398,914 tests have been conducted as of June 4.