Chinese medical team urges PH to conduct more tests to beat COVID-19

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 17) — A team of Chinese medical experts who are in the country for two weeks have released their findings and recommendations on how the Philippines can better deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an online press conference, Dr. Weng Shangeng, head of the Chinese medical team, commended the country's efforts in battling the virus, adding that measures taken by the Philippine government made an impact to prevent its spread.

One of their key recommendations is for the Philippines to conduct more testing in order to detect cases early and provide necessary treatment.

“First, actively expand the ability of the infection test as much as possible," Weng said. "This will provide early isolation, early reporting and early treatment."

The visiting team met with the Philippines' health officials upon arrival on April 8 and conducted a series of discussions and meetings. They also went around different health facilities like the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), the Lung Center of the Philippines and The Medical City to share their first-hand experience in dealing with the deadly respiratory disease.

Wuhan City in Hubei Province, China is the origin of the novel coronavirus that has so far infected over two million people worldwide.

As of Thursday, 42,215 individuals have been tested across the Philippines, according to the DOH. The country now has 5,878 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 387 deaths and 487 recoveries.

The Chinese experts also suggested the creation of more mobile hospitals and isolation facilities which can admit suspected cases to further curb the outbreak.

“Mobile hospitals were built in areas with large number of cases, all critical patients were collected and treated,” Weng noted.

The Chinese team added that the government can dedicate hospitals which are in "good condition" to become designated areas for COVID-19 cases. This is to ensure, they said, that proper treatment will be given to those who are critically-ill.

“Optimize the use of medical resources, select hospitals with good conditions as designated hospitals and focus on treatment of severe and critical cases,” Weng said.

Other recommendations include the need to ensure that medical supplies for hospitals will remain unhampered.

Weng and his team said the COVID-19 response taken by the Philippines is so far ‘proactive’ and ‘effective’ in containing the outbreak. They also find the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine, which has been in place for a month now, effective.

Due to limited time, the Chinese experts were not able to answer if there is a need for the Philippines to extend the lockdown or if it can be eased after April 30.