Gov't to probe hospitals not giving health workers regular COVID-19 tests — Malacañang

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 15) — The national government will look into hospitals that do not comply with the order to test health workers periodically for COVID-19, Malacañang warned on Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a briefing that hospitals may be held liable for violating the government order.

"Ang mandatory testing ng workers na regular is provided in a DOH (Department of Health) issuance. So kung merong paglabag diyan ipagbigay-alam lang po natin sa DOH at papaimbestigahan natin kung sino ang mga health facilities ang hindi nagbibigay ng mandated na regular testing for health workers," he said.

[Translation: The mandatory testing for regular health workers is provided in a DOH issuance. So if there is a violation, just inform the DOH and we can investigate health facilities that fail to provide the mandated regular testing for health workers.]

Roque referred to the DOH's Department Memorandum 2020-0546 which orders all public and private hospitals and health facilities to ensure the availability of testing services for all their healthcare workers exposed to persons classified as suspect, probable, and confirmed COVID-19 cases. Priority must be given to healthcare workers who are suspect cases.

"Iyan po ay benepisyo na binigay na ng gobyerno sa ating mga health workers. Actionable po yan, ibig sabihin pwedeng magkaroon po ng pananagutan ang ospital na hindi po nagpapatupad niyan," Roque added.

[Translation: That is a benefit that the government provided to our health workers. That is actionable, meaning, hospitals can be held liable for not following the order.]

Health Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire told CNN Philipipnes' The Source on Wednesday that health workers catering to COVID-19 patients must be tested every two weeks. However, hospitals with limited resources can still conduct at least monthly tests to reduce transmission.

Healthcare workers are urged to report hospitals which do not provide mandatory testing. They may reach the DOH through their Hotline 1555, or the DOH Complaints Handling Unit at