DOH: PH testing asymptomatic COVID-19 contacts depending on resources

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 28 2020 08:31 PM

MANILA — The Department of Health on Friday said the country was already testing asymptomatic contacts of COVID-19 patients but it depends on the availability of resources.

This came up as the United States said that those without symptoms "do not necessarily need a test.” The World Health Organization, however, said it recommended that "contacts, if feasible, should be tested, regardless of the development of symptoms.”

“Kung sakaling meron kaming resources or yung LGU has that resource, pwede naman i-test mo,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a virtual briefing.

(If we have resources or the LGU has resources, you can be tested.)

Vergeire also pointed out that part of the protocol now allows the testing of asymptomatic contacts of COVID-19 patients.

But she said what is more important is for contacts to isolate themselves as soon as they learn that they were exposed to someone infected with COVID-19.

“Pag di nyo sigurado, may sintomas kayo mag-isolate kayo. Kapag po wala kayong sintomas pero alam nyong na-expose kayo, mag-isolate kayo. Test can follow pero ang pinakaimportante mag-isolate kayo para maputol natin ang transmission ng virus na ito,” she said.

(If you are unsure about exposure but you have symptoms, you should isolate yourself. If you do not have symptoms but you were exposed, you should isolate, too. The test can follow but what is more important is to isolate so we can stop the transmission of the virus.)

The WHO said both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals can transmit the COVID-19 virus, although the DOH has said that those with symptoms are most likely to infect people because of coughing and sneezing.

The Philippines struggled in the past to ramp up its testing capacity but it is now able to test about 20,000 to 30,000 individuals per day.