Manila City to begin mass COVID-19 testing

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 12) — The city of Manila is now ready to conduct localized mass targeted testing for COVID-19, with the Philippine capital capable of conducting more than 1,000 swab tests weekly.

Six district hospitals and the Delpan quarantine facility can take 232 tests a day, totaling 1,624 tests per week.

Other hospitals that can conduct COVID-19 swab tests are Ospital ng Maynila, Sta. Ana Hospital, Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center, Ospital ng Tondo, Ospital ng Sampaloc, and Justice Jose Abad Santos General Hospital.

All swab tests will either be processed by the Department of Health’s Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (DOH-RITM) and the University of the Philippines Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH).

The city’s public information arm said Manila has so far conducted 934 swab tests, with Santa Ana Hospital accounting for the bulk of this, with 451 tests conducted so far.

Aside from Manila City, Quezon City, Valenzuela City, Pasig City, and Cavite have initiated their own mass testing efforts.

COVID-19 response chief implementer Carlito Galvez described Sunday the planned aggressive testing as a “game changer” as it would be the key to the government’s plan to identify COVID-19 patients, isolate and treat them.

“Hindi tayo makakaahon sa enhanced community quarantine hanngga’t hindi tayo magkakaroon ng targeted testing,” Galvez said.

[Translation: We won’t be able to come out of an enhanced community quarantine until we’ve had targeted testing.]

The death toll due to COVID-19 in the Philippines nears 300, as the country reported a spike in fatalities due to the viral disease on Sunday.

The Health Department reported 50 new deaths due to COVID-19 in its 4 p.m. bulletin on Sunday, bringing the death toll to 297.

The department reported 220 new cases of the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, bringing the total number of those who have been infected to 4,648.

Meanwhile, the number of people who have recovered from the viral disease has reached 197, with the Health Department reporting 40 more who have survived COVID-19.