MANILA, Philippines – The National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 said Monday that they are eyeing to conduct 10 million tests. The agency said that the response to the novel coronavirus is doable within 8 to 10 months.
NTF chief Vince Dizon said, “[Now] that we have the labs, we have now 68 labs, we have the capacity, we have the supplies, we should and we can now expand [testing] to other segments of the population.”
The NTF head said that they should expand it to two major groups. The said are the non-medical frontliners and the critical economic zone employees.
Before, the agency prioritized medicsl frontliners and symptomatic patients when testing. The PCR testing centers gave priority to the said people.
Dizon stated that law enforcers, basic commodities employees, sari-sari store vendors, street vendors are among those included in non-medical frontliners.
He also cited that the government should also look into other workers. Included are those in the factories and business processing and outsourcing industries.
NTF chief said, “those [working] in manufacturing, in our factories, those that work in economic zones and those that work in sectors that are very important like…the [business processing outsourcing] BPO sector.”
Dizon also emphasized that the stress is to maintain safety and an open economy altogether.
He said, “the idea now is we have to shift the strategy in order to manage COVID-19 and keep the economy open and working.”
These are “in order to make sure that we are able to bounce back from the contraction that we experienced in the first quarter and definitely in the second quarter,” Dizon added.
The NTF admitted that this improvement in pandemic response in quite late.
He said that in the course of things, it is quite late because quarantine measures are now relaxed to GCQ or MGCQ.
He explained, “Definitely late, however we were faced with so many constraints in the past. Which are only starting to be resolved in the past couple of weeks or even days.”
The Palace announced that they are planning to reach a 50,000 testing capacity. However, the 30,000 goal was not reached yet.
Currently, Dizon told Malacanan that at least 612,571 tests were accomplished. By the end of July, their target is to test about a million Filipinos.
Meanwhile, Health Undersecretary Maria Vergeire stated that, by June, they are eyeing to finish the testing of 1.5% of the Filipino population.