MANILA – The government has a plan to procure additional diagnostic test kits for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) to improve the country’s testing capacity as the number of infected people continues to rise, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Wednesday.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the government would purchase test kits that are “compatible” to the machines used by the hospitals in the country to detect Covid-19.
“May plan ba ang ating gobyerno para tayo ay bumili ng Covid-19 testing kits? Meron po tayong plano. Does the government have a plan to buy Covid-19 testing kits? Yes, we have). We cannot rely on donations for the rest of the time we are responding to this crisis,” she said in a televised press briefing.
Several countries have donated testing kits to help the Philippines combat Covid-19.
The Food and Drug Administration has so far approved nine Covid-19 test kits for commercial use.
Vergeire said the government can now purchase new Covid-19 test kits, considering that the government will receive an additional budget for the procurement of medical supplies that will be used to stop the further spread of the coronavirus.
“We’ll be given an additional budget for us to procure items or supplies that we will need for this response,” she said.
On Tuesday, Duterte signed Republic Act 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act,” which grants him special powers to address the Covid-19 pandemic country.
Under the new law, Duterte is allowed to realign available national budget funds to augment the national government’s response to Covid-19.
Meantime, Vergeire maintained that the government still cannot pursue mass testing for Covid-19, stressing that the country has no enough test kits.
“May parating pa po (pero) hindi pa rin po yan enough to serve para po mag-mass testing tayong lahat (We will receive new test kits but those are still not enough to conduct mass testing),” she said.
Vergeire also insisted that mass testing in the Philippines is only possible if the government has enough resources.
“’Pag na-stabilize na po natin itong lahat sa laboratories natin (If we are able to stabilize all our laboratories), and then we can now decide if we can go for mass testing or not,” she said. (PNA)