New gov't target: 1.5-M COVID-19 tests by end-July

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 23) — The Department of Health said it is now aiming to conduct 1.5 million COVID-19 tests by the end of the month — lower than the government’s initial target of testing some 1.65 million people in the country.

“Mahigit isang milyon na rin ang na-test para sa COVID-19. Ang goal po natin ay umabot sa 1.5 million tests sa katapusan ng buwan ng Hulyo,” Health Undersecretary and Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a press briefing on Thursday.

[Translation: Over one million people in the country have been tested for COVID-19. Our goal is to reach 1.5 million tests by the end of July.]

In a text message, Vergeire clarified to CNN Philippines that the 1.5 million target includes repeat tests, and is not the number of individuals the DOH aims to have tested.

This is different from the government’s goal in June to have 1.5 percent of the country’s population — or around 1.65 million people — tested for the viral disease by July 31.

Based on the DOH's latest COVID-19 situationer, over 1.2 million coronavirus tests have been conducted nationwide as of July 21, which include 1.1 million unique individuals. The DOH said the country currently has 91 licensed laboratories and can conduct a total of over 24,000 COVID-19 tests daily.

It also noted that the national positivity rate — or the percentage of people who test positive for the virus out of all those tested — currently stands at 8.6 percent, with some 74,000 people confirmed to have caught COVID-19 as of July 23. Of this total number, around 48,000 are active cases or currently ill patients.