The government will increase its coronavirus testing to 30,000 a day by the end of this month, Malacañang said Tuesday.
The Palace said this was to prepare for the transition to general community quarantine from enhanced community quarantine in some areas in Luzon after May 15.
National Policy Against COVID-19 Deputy Chief Implementer Vivencio Dizon said the government was targeting to have 78 laboratory testing centers to fight the pandemic.
READ: Hospitals decry lack of test hubs
He said the government opened its first mega-swabbing facility at the Palacio de Maynila along Roxas Boulevard, which now housed 65 sample-collection booths.
“We aim to have 78 laboratories for COVID-19 testing in the whole country by May 30,” Dizon said.
The Philippines has started flattening the curve for COVID-19 cases, according to an expert working with the Health department who said 1,408 COVID-19 patients were getting well with 93 new recoveries as of May 5.
The department also logged 9,684 cases with an additional 199 new confirmed cases. It also reported 14 new deaths, which brought to 637 the total number of Filipinos who succumbed to the pandemic.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said no new COVID-19 cases were reported in the country’s 43 provinces in the past two weeks.
Workers a priority
National policy against Covid-19 deputy chief implementer Vivencio Dizon said Tuesday the four mega-swabbing centers the government is building will give priority to the 25,000 migrant Filipino workers staying in quarantine facilities in Metro Manila.
He said the 25,000 will be the target of the four mega-swabbing centers in the Philippine Arena in Bulacan, the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Enderun Colleges in Taguig City, and the Palacio de Maynila Tent along Roxas Boulevard.
“We have to test them as soon as possible to decongest the quarantine facilities in Metro Manila to start accepting overseas Filipinos again,” Dizon said.
“We will save a lot of life when we ramp up testing.”
Policy on relief drives
Relief operations by private groups should be conducted in compliance with existing laws, the Justice department said Tuesday.
"Non-government volunteer operations to provide relief goods to people are encouraged-provided prior authorization has been secured,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in a statement.
He said this was to ensure that public health was not put in danger during relief operations and quarantine protocols were observed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Guevarra made the statement following the incident involving former senator Jinggoy Estrada, who was accosted by the police for holding a relief operation last Sunday without a permit from the San Juan City government.
Later on the same day, Estrada was released after explaining his side to Eastern Police District Chief Johnson Almazan.
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