MANILA — The Department of Health on Friday said it had suspended 5 laboratories for failing to report COVID-19 test results on time, with the order lifted for one after its immediate compliance.
“We already were able to suspend 5 laboratories,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a virtual briefing.
The daily COVID-19 tally of the DOH does not include test results from several laboratories that fail to submit results on time. Failure to inform the government of cases of communicable diseases is punishable under Republic Act No. 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.
Besides a penalty of a fine or imprisonment, facilities that violate the law could have their license to operate cancelled.
Of the 5 laboratories suspended, 1 had already been able to comply, Vergeire said. Suspension was already lifted for this laboratory, and the same will be done once the four others comply with requirements, she said.
One of the suspended laboratories, meanwhile, continued to operate, leading airport officials to disregard COVID-19 test results travelers presented from this facility. Reports said it resulted in some travelers missing their flights.
“As soon as we issue the suspension we inform all concerned units and agencies of government so they know that the laboratory is suspended,” Vergeire explained.
“We were able to inform already this laboratory. We have warned them,” the health official said. “Ngayon nga nagbigay sila ng commitment (to comply) and apologies.”
(They already gave their commitment and apologies.)
Video courtesy of DOH
Vergeire reminded laboratories that holding a license to operate meant being able to comply with requirements.
She said that despite the need to run COVID-19 tests, they still have to regulate and suspend licenses.
“We encourage all laboratories to please comply with your reportorial requirement para makumpleto ang ating mga datos na ating natatanggap so we can see the full picture of cases in the country,” she said.
(We encourage all laboratories to please comply with your reportorial requirement so we can complete the data we are receiving and see the full picture of cases in the country.)