More frontliners, pregnant women, included in expanded COVID-19 testing: DOH

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 15 2020 02:47 PM

Barangay Health Workers prepare for another batch of residents to be tested for the severe acute respiratory syndrome- coronavirus-2 (SARs-CoV-2) at the Baclaran Elementary School in Parañque City on May 21, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- The Philippines has expanded its COVID-19 testing program to cover other frontline personnel, the Department of Health said Monday, as it aimed to maximize testing capacity.

Barangay health workers, social workers, and vulnerable persons such as pregnant women will be included in the expanded COVID-19 testing program of the government, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

"Expectedly, there will be an increase in the samples that will be submitted to our laboratories," she told reporters.

"We will continue to expand the laboratories that are licensed in the country," she said.

The expansion is part of the government's efforts to maximize its COVID-19 testing capacity after it claimed that it could run 42,000 tests per day as of June.

Actual COVID-19 tests done daily however total 10,000 to 11,000, Vergeire said.

The government aims to accredit more laboratories to process COVID-19 tests so that by the end of July, the country has tested around 1.5 percent of its 100-million population, she said.

As of June 14, the Philippines has confirmed 25,930 COVID-19 cases. This includes 1,088 deaths and 5,954 recoveries.