China donates 2,000 COVID-19 test kits to PH

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 16)— China has donated thousands of rapid test kits for coronavirus disease detection in the Philippines, the nation's embassy in Manila said.

In a statement, the Chinese Embassy said the first batch of test kits— a total of 2,000— arrived in Manila on Monday.

The test kits— developed by the China BGI Group— are expected to have a turnaround time of only three hours.

"The kits have not only been widely used in China's battle against the epidemic and proven to be quite effective, but also been exported to more than 50 countries including Japan, Thailand, Brunei, Egypt, Peru and UAE," the embassy-- which jointly donated the products alongside the China Mammoth Foundation-- said in a statement.

The Chinese embassy said the East Asian giant is ready to roll out more test kits to the Philippine market in the coming days.

Currently, the only COVID-19 test kits available in the Philippines are the ones at the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine donated by the World Health Organization. The government previously said its testing capacity is at 4,500 individual tests.

Local scientists at the University of the Philippines National Institutes of Health have also developed test kits for the infectious disease, which will soon begin trial in selected hospitals around the country.

RELATED: How a team of Filipino scientists developed a COVID-19 test kit

The Philippines saw a huge jump in coronavirus cases in the past week, with the country listing 140 confirmed cases as of Monday. Out of the number, a total of 12 have died.

Globally, the coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 162,000 people in 146 different countries and territories, including China, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak.