MANILA – A proposed measure seeking to make coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) testing more accessible to vulnerable members of society is inching its way into becoming law at the House of Representatives.
During Monday’s plenary session, the lower chamber approved on second reading House Bill 6707 or the “Crush Covid-19 Act”, which encourages a baseline polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for vulnerable members of society to intercept Covid-19 transmission.
The “vulnerable members of society” include those returning to work with comorbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, pregnancy, and old age.
The bill also covers persons entering the Philippine territory coming from abroad, including foreign nationals, provided that the cost of testing for foreigners shall be at their own expense.
The bill further provides that priority should be given to the following: health care workers; sales personnel in public markets, groceries and supermarkets; food handlers; factory workers; construction workers; security guards and drivers; and banks and transfer fund facilities personnel.
The bill states that the testing subsidy shall not exceed PHP1,700 for government institutions and PHP1,800 for private institutions per vulnerable person tested.
Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin, the author of the bill, stressed the need to detect and manage Covid-19 early, especially in asymptomatic carriers, as the country gradually enters the new normal with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.
“We cannot be blind to the actual spread of the virus. We cannot allow our people to work in fear, knowing that only symptomatic people are tested,” Garin said. “While symptomatic patients need the utmost care and attention, we should not forget the fact that Covid-19 carriers can be deceiving. They appear healthy on the outside but virulent and infectious on the inside.” (PNA)