Philippines' daily coronavirus testing capacity exceeds 50,000

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 25 2020 02:30 PM

Health workers from the Philippine Coast Guard man the testing booths at a center in Manila on May 13, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN/File

MANILA - The Philippines can run over 50,000 tests for the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) per day, the country's testing czar said Thursday as the government sought to ramp up testing to include non-medical frontliners.

As of June 19, the country has reached a daily coronavirus testing capacity of 51,302, up by 2,465 percent from the Philippines' daily testing capacity of 2,000 in March, said Vince Dizon, deputy chief implementer of the country's pandemic response.

"As of June 19 ay nalampasan na po natin ang ating testing capacity goal na 50,000," Dizon said during a Palace press briefing.

(As of June 19, we have exceeded our testing capacity goal of 50,000.)

The development comes just less than a month after the government reported it has reached a 40,000 daily COVID-19 testing capacity.

The government has run 612,571 COVID-19 tests as of June 22, Dizon said as he noted that the government plans to reach 1 million next month.

"Ine-expect natin na within the month of July aabot na tayo sa 1 milyon [na test]," Dizon said.

(We expect to reach 1 million tests by July.)

Dizon added that the country now has 66 COVID-19 testing laboratories, of which 41 are run by the government. Twenty-four other laboratories are privately owned while one is a public-private partnership entity.

The testing czar said the government expects to expand its testing to include non-medical frontliners such as security personnel, and food establishment workers following the arrival of over 1 million COVID-19 test kits on June 21.

In expanding COVID-19 testing, Dizon said the government would prioritize densely populated areas such as Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog Region, Cebu, and Davao.

As of June 24, the Philippines has confirmed 32,295 COVID-19 cases, with infections continuing to rise amid eased quarantine restrictions. The figure includes 1,204 deaths and 8,656 recoveries.