DOH: PH to get more COVID-19 test kits from South Korea, China


Posted at Mar 16 2020 10:53 PM

MANILA - The Philippines may soon be able to test more people for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as more test kits arrive from donors.

The country has received 2,000 test kits from China, with another 10,000 kits expected to arrive this week.

South Korea has also sent 500 test kits to the Philippines, with another 5,000 to 10,000 units expected to arrive within the week.

"Unti-unti, nagkakaroon na tayo ng maraming kakayahan, rapid diagnostic test, pero siyempre ang kinakailangan po dito, masiguro natin ang kaniyang quality, ang kaniyang accuracy," Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a press conference Monday night in Malacañang.

(We are slowly having more rapid diagnostic tests, but of course we have to ensure the quality and accuracy.)

Duque also said that once more people get tested, he is positive that the COVID-19 mortality rate will go lower.

The country's mortality rate is currently at around 8 percent, with 12 deaths out of 140 cases of COVID-19.

"It's only high because we have not done enough testings. We have limited testing capacity, especially the past several weeks. But now, I am confident that with many testing kits arriving, and many have in fact arrived, we will be able to pick up positives but mild cases so that the number of deaths will be further diluted," Duque expained.

"Hangga't we do more massive testing, hindi natin malalaman kung ilan pa ang positibo," he added.

(Until we do massive testing, we wouldn't know who else is positive.)

The Food and Drug Administration last Tuesady said it had allowed the use of a novel coronavirus testing kit that a research center at the University of the Philippines-Manila developed, after cases of the respiratory disease in the country increased.

Duque said the government is still testing the UP-developed kits.