MANILA – There are now eight testing centers nationwide that can screen individuals suspected of being infected with the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), Malacañang said on Friday.
In a virtual press briefing, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said faster identification and isolation of infected individuals are now possible, considering that the country has more accredited Covid-19 testing centers.
“At this point, we cannot overemphasize how important it is for our health professionals and workers to properly identify and treat not just those who have been infected, but potential carriers of the virus as well,” said Nograles, spokesperson of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
In Luzon, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa City, San Lazaro Hospital in Manila, University of the Philippines – National Institutes of Health in Manila City, Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City, and Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center can now conduct tests for Covid-19, he said.
Nograles said individuals from the Visayas who are potential Covid-19 carriers could go to the Western Visayas Medical Center in Iloilo City and Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City to have themselves tested for the viral disease.
He added that the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City is the sole health facility in Mindanao to be accredited as a testing center for Covid-19.
“Ang pagdagdag po ng testing facilities natin ay makakatulong sa agarang pag-identify at isolate ng mga indibidwal na may Covid-19 (These additional facilities can help in the faster identification and isolation of individuals with Covid-19),” Nograles said.
Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., who concurrently serves as the chief implementer of the government’s national policy against Covid-19, announced on Thursday a plan to start mass testing persons suspected of having Covid-19 on April 14.
The mass testing is seen as a solution to arrest the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
As of Thursday, the Philippines had a total of 2,633 Covid-19 cases, with 107 fatalities and 51 recoveries.
Nograles said the government’s priority is to conduct the mass testing for patients under investigation (PUIs) and persons under monitoring (PUMs).
“Uunahin muna natin ‘yung PUIs and PUMs (We will prioritize PUIs and PUMs). What we’re trying to do is we’re trying to already bring to the isolation and quarantine facilities the PUIs, PUMs,” he said.
Nograles also encouraged those who are exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19 to be “completely truthful” to effectively curb the spread of the disease.
“We urge everyone to be completely truthful because many others could suffer if you are not,” he said. “In the case of this outbreak, the truth will help us contain the virus.” (PNA)