MANILA--The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) said Saturday that those previously identified as persons under monitoring (PUM) would also be tested for COVID-19 following concerns they are silently carrying the virus.
"Kasama ang PUMs sa testing. Not just in Metro Manila, but the entire country," Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said in a virtual press briefing.
The development came after Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian sounded the alarm on the absence of testing PUMs after his local government found out 5 of them were infected with COVID-19.
"Hindi mawawala sa equation ang PUMs," added Nograles, the task force spokesperson.
The Department of Health (DOH) released a new standard of classification last week that excludes PUMs.
In its February guideline, PUMs are those exposed to a COVID-19 patient or has a travel history, but do not exhibit symptoms. They are required to undergo a monitored 14-day home quarantine.
Under the new system, the DOH classifies those with symptoms but remain untested as "suspect," while those awaiting results as "probable."
Meanwhile, patients with positive results from official testing laboratories are considered "confirmed" cases.
Since emerging from Wuhan City in Hubei province, China, Philippine health authorities have so far tested more than 42,000 individuals for COVID-19.
As of Friday, the virus has hit 5,878 people, including 387 deaths and 487 recoveries.