Wider mass testing pushed

SENATORS on Monday called for wider coverage of mass testing COVID-19 before the national government decides to modify or extend the enhanced community quarantine over Luzon and other areas.

Senator Risa Hontiveros said decision on whether the enhanced community quarantine is extended or modified must depend on the result of mass testing.

"Quarantines and social distancing, while important, are clearly only part of the solution. We can only end this pandemic if we identify, isolate and treat every person infected with COVID-19," she added.

The lady senator urged the government that asymptomatic individuals should be tested too.
"Malinaw na hindi dapat limitado sa mga taong may malalang sintomas ng COVID-19 ang ginagawang testing ng pamahalaan para matigil ang pagkalat ng sakit na ito," she said.

“Mass testing requires ramped up local production of testing kits and capacitated regional testing centers in the Visayas and Mindanao,” she added.

Meanwhile, Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri said he will be donating 6,000 rapid antibody test kits to different hospitals in Mindanao on Monday and Tuesday as he pressed the government to expand the testing capacities in other parts of the country.

"Kung sa Metro Manila lang tayo mag-focus, hindi natin matatalo itong COVID," Zubiri said in a statement.

For his side, Senator Ping Lacson suggested that the Department of Health must accelerate massive rapid testing by deputizing private health practitioners and health workers under the auspices of a public-private collaboration wherein the business sector can help by subsidizing or spending for the deployment of those health personnel in order to cover a considerable number among our population thus getting a more accurate infection rate.

"While we value the primacy of life and public health, it cannot be denied that the country’s economy should not be ignored," he added.