MANILA — The Department of Health on Tuesday said the country is now able to test more than 12,000 samples from suspect COVID-19 cases every day.
“We are averaging 12,000 to 13,000 tests per day,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a media briefing on Tuesday morning.
She said the exact average was around 12,400 although testing fluctuates daily.
“On June 21, we were able to test 10,967 samples,” she said. “But this is slightly below the 7-day average.”
Meanwhile, on June 17, the country was able to reach its highest number of tests conducted at around 16,000.
The Philippine government initially set a target of 8,000 tests by April 30. But even when it failed to reach that target, it raised the goal to 30,000 tests by May 31.
By the end of May, Malacañang claimed that the country had a testing capacity of 30,000. However, actual tests conducted per day were less than 10,000.
Vergeire said the goal was still for actual tests done and not just “rated capacity,” which is now at 50,000 tests per day.
Rated capacity refers to the possible number of tests that all of the government-accredited COVID-19 laboratories can run, not considering operational problems.
Equipment damage, supply shortage and other problems are among the challenges affecting the performance of the country’s laboratories.
But Vergeire assured the public on Tuesday that they are working hard to reach accreditation targets to further expand testing.
By Monday, accredited laboratories in the Philippines reached 63.
Despite this, testing backlogs are still in the thousands, reaching 4,173 by June 21.