SENATOR Nancy Binay recommended that free cluster testing be implemented in highly-dense communities and in areas where COVID cases are high.
According to Binay, given the government’s poor testing capacity, rationalizing the IATF’s and the DOH’s screening and testing strategies to cover more individuals is necessary in order to abate community infections.
“Kulelat pa rin tayo. Why are we not testing enough? What happened to the target of 90k-100k tests daily? Given the country’s low testing capacity, how can we be effective in isolating carriers and spreaders? Yung patuloy na paglala ng pandemya, napaka-crucial ng testing sa mga komunidad,” she added.
Binay said that in communities under hard lockdown and in critical zones where surges have been reported, the DOH, together with the LGU, can conduct a full community testing using RT-PCR tests.
“The goal is to test more, not to test all. Hindi naman natin hinihingi na i-test lahat. What we need is a rationalized, more targetted cluster approach to supress the spread of the virus sa community level–wag naman yung shotgun approach,” Binay pointed out.
COVID-19 cases continue to rise despite the enhanced community quarantine in the National Capital Region and other areas, and for the past week alone.
“Localized community testing, contact tracing and disease surveillance should automatically be part of the zoning containment strategy. Sabi ng DOH, pwede ang antigen testing lalo na sa level-4 at level-3 na mga areas. Kung may nakapasok nang Delta variant, dapat RT-PCR tests should immediately be conducted. Sayang lang ang ilang milyong pisong binili ng gobyerno na antigen test kits dahil di pwedeng gamitin ang antigen sa genome sequencing lalo na sa bagong variants,” she pointed out.
In March this year, IATF testing czar Vince Dizon said that the government would ramp up its testing capacity from an average of 57,000 to 90,000 daily tests, however, the country has only been registering more than 50,000 tests per day.
“With the way we currently handle the COVID situation, nasa 14% na ang positivity rate natin. At an average of 57,000 a day testing, ibig sabihin, malamang mas aakyat pa ang positivity rate since malaking percentage ng population ang di nahahagip ng testing,” Binay noted.
The senator added that LGUs like Navotas has come up with policies and strategies that would enable to test as many individuals as possible for free in order to limit community infection.
“Kung kaya ng Navotas na magkaroon ng libreng 24/7 testing operation, bakit di magawa ng testing czar na gawin ding 24-hour operation ang government testing facilities? Aside from vaccination, what we need is a prompt and timely testing of individuals na walang kailangang bayaran specially those who are at risk of being infected with the virus,” Binay pointed out.