Farmers to govt: Show political will and urgency in implementing mass testing

The government is far from its target for mass testing and the country’s status and capacity in terms of COVID-19 mass testing, contact tracing, and isolation of infective individuals lags seriously. “Without decisive and effective measures on mass testing, it would be difficult to curb the rising COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, which is now third in South East Asia in terms of the most number of COVID-19 cases.

“We reiterate the strong public demand for free mass testing. Masasayang ang halos 2 buwang quarantine kung walang mass testing. Patuloy lang na kakalat ang virus,” the farmers’ group said.

“The country has breached the 11,000 mark in COVID-19 cases. Our doubling rate is also high. Almost two months since ECQ was implemented, the country has conducted 151,080 tests for 137,055 individuals — very negligible in the efforts to contain the virus. This situation is very alarming,” says KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos.

“Experts have repeatedly stressed the need for aggressive mass testing in the effort to ‘flatten the curve.’ Mass testing supposedly started last April 14 but we are way, way behind the targets. Mass testing is possible if the government will make it a priority in the fight against COVID-19. However, instead of ramping up mass testings, the government only focused on implementing repressive lockdown measures. Worse, it even scaled down the operations of the RITM and the Lung Center of the Philippines.”

KMP said the Department of Health (DOH) is evidently failing its self-imposed target of 8,000 daily mass testings with the current capacity of 26 certified testing laboratories in the Philippines. No clear-cut measures were also announced on how we will achieve the target of 90 certified testing centers and 30,000 daily mass testing by the end of the month.

Based on the latest announcement by Malacanang, after May 15, low-risk provinces will no longer be under any form of quarantine including Regions I, IV-B,V, VI, VIII, X, XII, and ARMM. Regions under moderate risk will be under general community quarantinue including Regions II, III, IV-A (except Laguna), CAR, Region VII, IX, XI, and XIII. High risk areas will remain under ECQ including NCR, Laguna, and Cebu City. ###

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