PH eyes 'massive testing' of suspected COVID-19 cases by April 14

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 2) — The Philippine government is targeting an April 14 start of "massive testing" of persons suspected of coronavirus infection.

Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez, who is also the chief implementer of the national government's response to the COVID-19 outbreak, said Thursday that they have asked the Department of Health to fast-track the accreditation of more coronavirus testing facilities.

He said nine hospitals have been accredited so far. Previously, only the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine was conducting COVID-19 testing, resulting in delays in the release of test results.

"We're also determined to fast track the accreditation of subnational laboratories so we can start the massive testing of the PUIs (persons under investigation) and the PUMs (persons under monitoring)," Galvez said.

"We expect that by April 14 we should be able to start massive testing," he added.

READ: COVID-19 response head clears air on mass testing

Galvez said the PUIs and PUMs -- composed mostly of those with COVID-19 symptoms and those who had contact with known cases -- will be quarantined as soon as facilities are available.

The conversion of the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila into a quarantine facility is expected to be completed this week. Other quarantine areas include the World Trade Center, Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex, and the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.

The Philippines now has 2,633 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Of this number 107 have died while 51 have recovered.

President Rodrigo Duterte has placed Luzon under enhanced community quarantine, restricting people's movement, to contain the spread of the virus. Other areas in the Visayas and Mindanao have enforced their own lockdown and quarantine guidelines.