Earlier today, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque addressed the public’s negative reaction to the government’s lack of mass testing plans. According to Roque, the Palace is working on “expanded target testing” and that the term “mass testing” is incorrect.
“Hindi po pinapabayaan ng pamahalaan ang expanded testing sa pribadong sektor. Partner po natin ang pribadong sektor sa bagay na ito,” says Roque. In a quote from a press con held just yesterday, however, Roque used the term “mass testing,” saying that he would leave that to the private sector.
On the use of the term, Roque says: “Literally, I compared the situation to Wuhan where they seek to test all 11 million residents. Hindi po natin gagawin ’yun sa buong Pilipinas. Ni hindi nga po natin ‘yan magawa sa Metro Manila.” He also claims that no country on the planet is testing all of its residents, which is why the term is wrong.
So what is expanded target testing? The measure first began in Apr. 14, when the coronavirus task force endorsed the use of rapid test kits and PCR-based tests. Those who will be tested is as follows:
- Symptomatic individuals
- Individuals arriving from overseas
- All close contacts of COVID-19 patients (contact tracing)
- Those who tested positive in rapid antibody test results
The systematized testing procedures do not include asymptomatic individuals—which, according to project ARK medical team leader Dr. Minguita Padilla in a press conference, comprises 80 percent of cases, along with mild cases.
When asked about the dangers of letting employees return to work, Dr. Padilla says in yesterday’s press con: “We cannot hide from the virus forever.” Padilla recommends to follow the DOH and DOLE’s guidelines, and live “as though you are infectious and the person beside you is infected. That is the only way.”
“If we do that in the hospital where chances of getting the virus [are] high, you can go back to work. Factories can, restaurants can,” adds Padilla. “Forever hiding and avoiding can be more deadly than the disease.”
File photo from Inquirer