Coronavirus test kits from Chinese gov't 'at par' with WHO units: health dept

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 30 2020 09:46 AM | Updated as of Mar 30 2020 10:06 AM

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MANILA - Testing kits for the novel coronavirus donated by China were "at par" with those from the World Health Organization, Manila's health minister said Monday. 

Health Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire said over the weekend that some Chinese test kits were only "40 percent accurate." 

The Philippines rejected this initial batch of donation from a Chinese firm because it did not meet the standards of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa, said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III. 

A separate donation by the Chinese government passed RITM's evaluation, he said. 

"Naging okay ang kanilang naging evaluation at angkop sa WHO standards. Up to par, ibig sabihin comparable, sa dino-donate ng WHO," he told DZMM. 

(Their evaluation was okay and had followed WHO standards. These are at par, comparable with those that the WHO donated.) 

The kits, he added, had no missing components, unlike the donations. 

"Andyan ang mandato ng RITM para mag-evaluate kasi tayo rin ang maaapektuhan kung hindi natin susuriin maigi kung ano ba ang kalidad, kaligtasan, accuracy ng mga test [kit] na dino-donate nila sa atin,' said Duque. 

(The mandate of the RITM to evaluate i there because we will be affected by the quality, safety and accuracy of the test kits donated to us.) 

A "global shortage" of kits earlier limited COVID-19 screening to those with symptoms of the respiratory disease and "high-risk" patients who were elderly, pregnant or had underlying health conditions. 

The Philippines as of Sunday confirmed 71 deaths or about a a 5-percent fatality rate out of its total 1,418 cases of the disease. The tally, which included 42 patients who were cured, could spike with the recent arrival of additional test kits, said the health department.