Malacañang admitted that the government could have done more by expanding testing capacities immediately when the Philippines had its first coronavirus case.
Ppresidential spokesperson Harry Roque himself thought that this was one of the government’s lapses in its COVID-19 response.
“If I were to look back, what we could have done better siguro po, noong nagkaroon tayo ng unang kaso na imported case ng COVID, pinalawak na natin ‘yung ating testing capacity kaagad,” Roque admitted.
[If I were to look back, what we could have done better maybe was to expand our testing capacity immediately after we recorded the first and imported COVID case.]
The first COVID-19 case of the country was logged last January 30 by the Department of Health (DOH).
“Inaamin po natin na medyo naging mabagal ‘yung pagproseso na lumipas po ang dalawang buwan, iisa lang po ang ating testing facility, ang RITM [Research Institute for Tropical Medicine]. Marso pa lang tayo nagsimula magkaroon ng mas marami pang laboratories,” Roque said.
[We admit that we were a bit slow in processing that after two months, we only had one testing facility which is the RITM. It was only in March where we started to have more laboratories.]
“Pero nakita niyo naman po, mabilis din po natin napataas ang numbers ng ating mga laboratories. Meron na po tayong 70 plus ngayon, ilang buwan lang noong Enero,” he added.
(But as you have seen, we were quick to increase the number of our laboratories. We now have more than 70, a few months since January.)
According to DOH, the country has 78 licensed COVID-19 laboratories to date.