COVID-19 tests backlog at RITM to be addressed by Friday: Galvez

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 21 2020 10:35 AM

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MANILA - Government's lead COVID-19 testing center aims to finish its backlog by Friday, the chief implementer of the Philippines COVID-19 response said Tuesday.

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) scaled down its operations after 40 employees tested positive for the virus, according to Secretary Carlito Galvez.

"Nagtulungan sila ng (Philippine) Red Cross na ayusin ang backlog. By April 24 wala na po 'yung backlog. Hindi po talaga tumigil, nag-scale down lang po dahil ang kanilang microbiologists ay nacontaminate," he told radio DZMM.

The Philippines so far has 16 testing sites and 30 more are "in the pipeline," Health Secretary Francisco Duque earlier said. Authorities aim to run 8,000 to 10,000 tests per day by the end of April, he added.

Galvez, meantime, said government officials had a "good" discussion on Monday with health experts, mathematicians and former members of the Cabinet about the lifting of Luzon's lockdown, set to end April 30.

"Maganda po ang naging discussion dahil ang gusto po ng Presidente bago siya magkaroon ng decision this coming April 30 nakuha niya po lahat ng suhestiyon, magagandang insights ng different sectors," he said.

"Magkakaroon po tayo ng small group discussions para ma-perfect ang options at consequences ng gagawin natin. Every decision we will make titingnan po natin ang trade off."

As of Monday, the novel coronavirus has so far infected 6,459 people in the country, with 428 deaths and 613 recoveries.