Gov't says has 'sufficient funds' for COVID-19 test kits


Posted at Mar 15 2020 02:50 PM

Researchers work in a laboratory at the Philippine Genome Center on March 12, 2020. The center is part of the development of a local test kit for COVID-19 led by the UP-National Institutes of Health in efforts to improve early detection of the virus, expedite the mass production of the kit, and ensure its availability to the public at lower costs. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Philippine government on Sunday said it has sufficient funds for the production of COVID-19 test kits contrary to misinformation circulating online.

In a joint statement, Malacañang and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) urged the public to "be wary of false narratives" on social media which creates "apprehension and panic."

"We assure our people that we are prepared to use to the fullest the resources of the government to arrest the spread of the disease and secure the safety and health of the citizenry," the statement read.

DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Pena said the agency "categorically states it is not in any way involved in the call by some groups for donations regarding access to test kits."

"Sufficient funds are available," he said.

Private research firm Manila Healthtek Inc., which is involved in the development of the test kits, is "prepared to do the production of bigger quantities" once the imported raw materials arrive, government said.

Those who wish to donate funds may coordinate with the Department of Health, Philippine General Hospital, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and local governments to "ensure its rightful receipt and best use," it added.
"We appeal to everyone to observe strictly the protocols espoused by the IATF on personal hygiene and social distancing that we may protect each other from being potential carrier and transmitter of COVID-19," it said.

The Philippines has received 500 COVID-19 test kits from South Korea and is awaiting the delivery of 5,000 more, according to Health Secretary Francisco Duque. China, meantime, has pledged 10,000 test kits, he added.

Test kits developed by Filipino scientists, meantime, must undergo field validation before these allowed for commercial use.

As fo Saturday, there are 111 cases of COVID-19 in the country, 8 of whom died while 5 recovered.

LINK: https://news.abCOVID-19, coronavirus, COVID-19 test kits, test kits, DOST, Malacanang, Salvador Panelo, Fortunato dela Pena, Department of Science and