MANILA - Getting tested for the coronavirus is not an "immunity passport," and the best way to avoid getting COVID-19 is to adhere to preventive measures, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Friday.
"We are still reminding the general public that prevention is still the best, and testing is not an immunity passport," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a virtual press briefing after being asked that some cities have opened drive-through testing sites to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Preventive measures include frequent handwashing, wearing of face mask in public, and physical distancing.
"Hindi po because nag-test kayo ngayon ay hindi na po kayo magkakaroon ng sakit sa mga darating na araw dahil maaari pa rin tayong ma-expose pagkatapos nating magpa-test at maaaring magkaroon pa rin tayo ng impeksiyon pagkatapos nito," she added.
In April, the Taguig City Government set up testing areas for residents who may have symptoms of the novel coronavirus.
The Manila City Government later followed the footsteps of Taguig, offering drive-through testing even to non-residents.
Vergeire said the DOH has always maintained that testing protocols are risk-based.
"We prioritize groups who have the biggest risk of contracting the virus because they are part of the vulnerable population or had exposure to the virus or patients like our health care workers," she said.
The health official added the department will continue to expand the subgroups to include more people eligible for testing "as we delicately balance opening our economy while ensuring the safety and minimizing the risk of infection of the population."
To date, the number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines surpassed 63,000, with 1,841 new infections reported Friday. The tally includes 1,660 fatalities and 21,748 recoveries.