While folks on the internet have been clamoring #MassTestingNowPH since the start of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) back in March, it seems that possibility is pushed back indefinitely—at least one under the government’s hands.
According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, the government won’t cover the costs of mass testing for COVID-19, particularly to employees returning to work in the wake of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).
“In an ideal world, dapat lahat ng tao, ma-test [for COVID-19]. Pero ang RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) testing laboratories natin ay 30 pa lang. Eh dapat, di bababa sa 90. Nagkakaubusan rin ng rapid test kits.” Roque says. “Ini-increase pa po natin ang ating testing capacity to 30,000 [a day by May 30]….kaya wala pong ganyang programa [mass testing] ang gobyerno. Kaya iniiwan po natin ’yan sa pribadong sektor.”
This is in conflict with the Employers Confederation of the Philippines’s recent call, which advised that the government should be able to provide mass testing for private employees. According to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)’s advisory, employers should be the ones to cover the costs of prevention and whatnot—which also includes testing.
Right now, testing is only required for those showing symptoms of the disease, according to the Department of Health protocol. With the current state of things, employees can look to their private sectors for the testing assistance they need.
Employers should shoulder COVID-19 testing and prevention measures—DOLE
Mass testing “isn’t needed” but apparently VIP testing is fine?
UP researchers warn the public: lifting ECQ on May 15 may result to 24,000 cases
Photo from Inquirer.net