MANILA – The government targets to reach one million tests for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) by next month, National Policy Against Covid-19 Deputy Chief Implementer Vivencio Dizon said.
In a Palace briefing Thursday, Dizon said the country now has the capacity to test more persons as over one million test kits arrived last weekend.
The expanded targeted community testing will focus especially on Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon), Cebu, and Davao, he said.
As of June 23, actual Covid-19 tests already reached 612,571 from just 17,414 tests last March, he said.
Dizon reiterated the country’s daily testing capacity has improved since the Covid-19 outbreak in March with the increased number of testing laboratories and enough supply of test kits.
From a 2,000 test capacity in a day in March, the country has a capacity to do 51,302 tests per day as of June 19, he added.
The country already hit its 50,000 testing capacity target earlier than end-June 2020.
He said the country now also has 66 testing laboratories.
Dizon said a high number of confirmed Covid-19 cases will be expected in the coming weeks as the government accelerates the testing activities.
“This is important that our public should understand that while we are increasing our testing capacity, we will find more positive cases; but the positivity rate is declining,” he said in Filipino.
Dizon said the Covid-19 positivity rate in the Philippines fell from 20 percent during the period when testing was limited, to nearly 5 percent to date.
Positivity rate is the percentage of people confirmed being infected with Covid-19 out of the total number of tested persons.
“According to the WHO (World Health Organization), a 5-percent positivity rate and lower is a sign that a country is improving in its management on Covid-19 cases. We are near at that point. We are nearly below 5 percent,” Dizon said.
He added the turnaround time of Covid-19 tests also improved from more than two weeks in March to only 48 to 72 hours this month.
This was also improved through automated testing that fast-track the results. (PNA)