Citing lack of resources, Palace welcomes companies' initiative to test employees


Posted at May 18 2020 08:43 PM

Citing lack of resources, Palace welcomes companies' initiative to test employees 1
Health workers from the Philippine Coast Guard man the testing booths at a center in Manila on May 13, 2020. Multiple buses carrying seafarers and land based OFWs line up outside the Palacio de Maynila mega swabbing center to cater to repatriated Filipinos who have been mostly in quarantine for almost 2 weeks now. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN

MANILA - Malacañang on Monday said it welcomes the initiatives by private companies to test their employees for the coronavirus disease 2019, admitting that the government cannot implement mass testing due to lack of resources.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the private sector is voluntarily testing its employees, but the government's laboratories and test kits are not enough.

"In an ideal world, dapat po lahat ng tao ma-testing pero alam ninyo ang hirap na nga nitong PCR testing no, 30 pa lang labs natin ang gusto natin mangyari hindi bababa sa 90 'yang PCR testing centers natin," he said.

(In an ideal world, everyone should be tested but PCR testing is difficult because we only have 30 labs. We want at least 90 PCR testing centers.)

He also said there is a lack in the supply of rapid test kits since other countries also need test kits.

"Nagkakaubusan din po sa rapid test kits. Sa katunayan alam ko po as a fact napakahirap na ngayon sa China maglabas ng rapid test kits dahil sila mismo gusto nilang itest ang lahat ng mga Tsino sa Wuhan, ang ideal nila 11 million testing. Customs hinaharang din paglabas ng rapid test kits. America binibili lahat ng test kits available." Roque said.

(The supply for rapid tests kits is not enough. It is very difficult to get test kits from China because they also need to test 11 million people in Wuhan. America is also buying all available test kits.)

Roque recognizes the efforts of the private sector to acquire their own test kits for their employees.

"That is why we are giving recognition to the initiative of the private sector na sila na mismo bumili ng rapid test kits para ma-test ang kanilang mga empleyado (to buy the rapid test kits themselves to test their employees)," he said.

The enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila, Laguna, and several parts of Central Luzon was revised to a modified ECQ from Saturday after 2 months of restrictions shuttered most businesses and led to the first economic contraction in 22 years.

Under the modified lockdown, select industries are allowed to operate with half of their employees at the office while the remaining are urged to work from home.

As of Monday, the country has a total of 12,718 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Of this number, there are 831 deaths and 2,729 recoveries.