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1.8M Filipinos tested for COVID-19 — DOH

Francisco Duque III
Francisco Duque III

THE Department of Health yesterday reported a total of 192 licensed COVID-19 testing laboratories nationwide have tested more than 5.8 million Filipinos for COVID-19.

Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said that as part of the Prevent and Detect pillars under the Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate strategy of the government against COVID-19, the DOH has placed primacy on strengthening the nation’s testing capacity.

“As of today, every region has an licensed RT-PCR laboratory. Meron na po tayong 147 real-time RT-PCR laboratories and 45 GeneXpert laboratories across the nation,” he said.

Duque further explained that the two laboratory types process both reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests but only differ on how the laboratory samples are processed.

“Bukod pa rito, there are 55 laboratories applying for accreditation that are already on Stages 3 and 4 or the compliance and proficiency testing stages. Eto po ay 68% ng kabuuang bilang ng mga laboratoryiong nag-aapply kaya makakaasa po tayo na mas lalawak pa ang testing capacity ng bansa,” he added.

To date, DOH recorded a total of 6,236,830 cumulative samples tested and 5,874,023 individuals tested. Meanwhile, the cumulative positivity rate is at 8.7% as of Dec. 12.

Despite the increase in the number of laboratories, the health chief warned the public to still be cautious on the threat of the pandemic.

“Bagama’t patuloy na lumalawak ang ating kakayahan na ma-test ang mga close contact at mga symptomatic, mariin pa rin po naming ipinapaalala na your test result is not your immunity passport. Kahit negative ang result ng inyong swab test ay maaari pa rin po kayong mahawa kung hindi kayo mag-iingat,” Duque said.

“We should always observe the minimum public health standards at maging BIDA solusyon. Muli naming pinapaalala na bawala ang walang mask, i-sanitize ng kamay, dumistansya ng isang metro mula sa ibang tao at alamin ang tamang impormasyon. Sumunod din po tayo sa mga ordinansa na ipinapatupad ng national at lokal na pamahalaan. Manatili po tayong maingat sapagkat andito pa rin ang virus at prevention is always better than cure,” he added.

Meanwhile, Dr. Guido David of the OCTA Research team said that an uptrend in the reproduction rate of COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila has been observed and is projected to continue in the coming days.

David explained that the reproduction number (R0) or the average number of people infected by one person in a susceptible population is now at 1.06 and increasing.

The research team previously said that a value higher than one indicates the pandemic is spreading.

From 0.90 on Dec. 1, NCR’s reproduction number hit 0.94 on Dec. 5, then reached 0.96 on Dec. 10. On Dec. 11, the R0 in the region was at 0.99.. It was 0.88 last November.

The reproduction number of 1.06 in the capital region was aligned with David’s projection last Saturday that it will breach the 1.0 mark.