More isolation facilities sought as gov't prepares for antigen test use: testing czar

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 12 2020 01:11 PM

Navotas City residents undergo swab testing at a gymnasium behind the city hall on August 20, 2020. Residents who came in close contact with confirmed COVID-19 cases are now required by the local government to undergo tests under the Executive Order No. 42 signed by Mayor Toby Tiangco. Those who test positive for the virus are also required to be transferred to community isolation facilities. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The government will add at least 5,000 beds in different isolation facilities all over the country, as Philippines ramps up efforts to test more Filipinos for coronavirus disease. 

Government testing czar Vince Dizon on Saturday said the usage of antigen tests - which are expected to deliver COVID-19 tests results within 15 minutes - will increase the number of people needing to be isolated.

“Kaya kailangan po ma-isolate sila nang mabilis at ma-trace po ang kanilang mga contact at naniniwala tayo sa bagong intervention na ito ay lalo mapapabilis at mapapaigting ang ating response sa COVID-19 habang dahan-dahan nating binubuksan ang ating ekonomiya,” Dizon said. 

(This is why we need to isolate them fast and trace their close contacts fast. We believe that this new intervention will increase and strengthen our response vs COVID-199 while we re-open our economy.) 

Dizon earlier said the government is studying the possibility of using antigen tests to screen local travelers and returning Filipinos. 

The Department of Health also assured that they will only use antigen tests with at least 80 percent capacity. 

The government is also expected to increase its testing capacity once antigen tests start rolling out.