'High-risk' patients, medical workers are priority in COVID-19 mass test: health dept

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 13 2020 08:31 AM | Updated as of Apr 13 2020 09:24 AM

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MANILA - A mass testing for COVID-19 will prioritize "high-risk" patients and medical workers, the health department said Monday, a month into the lockdown of millions to halt the pandemic. 

High-risk patients include the elderly, pregnant women, and those with serious symptoms or pre-existing health conditions like cancer and asthma, said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III. 

"Mayroon pa rin tayong prioritization dahil hindi naman infinite iyong ating test kits," he told DZMM. 

(We will still have prioritization because our test kits are not infinite.)
 
Duque said he would verify later Monday the testing backlog in 12 laboratories nationwide. 

The health department eyes expanding the mass testing to authorities manning lockdown checkpoints and groups that would help revive the economy, he said. 

The Philippines as of Sunday confirmed 4,648 cases of the disease, with 297 deaths and 197 patients who recovered. 

All households in Luzon, home to half of the Philippines' 100-million population, are under quarantine until April 30 to stop the pandemic.