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Local Roundup: • Price control EO on test kits out soon • Mixed signals

An executive order setting maximum prices of reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) or swab tests for COVID-19 may be issued next week, the spokesman of the Department of Health (DOH) said Saturday.

Undersecretary Ma. Rosario Vergeire, in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV, said the DOH has already submitted a proposal for an EO from the Office of the President.

“We have no news yet, but maybe next week,” Vergeire said.

She added that because the country has no law regulating the prices of COVID-19 diagnostic methods, the DOH cannot just simply set price caps on these processes. 

Sources of misinformation traced

The Department of Health (DOH) has already traced and reported some of the sources of misinformation about COVID-19, the agency’s spokesperson has said.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the agency has asserted its role as the Philippines' health authority, even in cases where "mixed signals" came from government officials themselves.

"We have been successful for some, we were able to trace the sources of this fake information and we were able to endorse them to proper authorities," Vergeire said at a recent webinar hosted by the US Embassy.

Asked about "mixed signals" coming from high-ranking government leaders, the official said the DOH has consistently provided the public with science-backed information. 

Lancet’s ranking unfair, doctor says

An infectious diseases specialist on Sunday expressed disappointment over the ranking of the Philippines as 66th out of 91 countries in suppressing COVID-19, describing it as “unfair.”

The data used was based on August figures, Dr. Benjamin Co, of the University of Santo Tomas Hospital, said during an interview on Dobol B sa News TV.

The international medical journal The Lancet published on Sept. 14 a study showing the Philippines ranking 66th out of 91 countries in the suppression of COVID-19.

It said that one of the reasons for the Philippines' failure to suppress the pandemic is medical populism, defined as simplifying the pandemic by downplaying its impact or touting easy solutions or treatments.

Co disputed this, but acknowledged that the response to the pandemic should have been more about encouraging people to take the right measures rather than using scare tactics in enforcing health protocols.

Topics: COVID-19 , Benjamin Co , Maria Rosario Vergeire , Department of Health
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