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COVID-19 WATCH

COVID-19 testing focused in urban centers–senators

Hananeel Bordey

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The government must expand COVID-19 testing in far-flung areas as senators noted that the testing efforts are concentrated in urban areas and big cities in the country.

In a report consolidating the comments of senators on the first report of President Duterte on the implementation of Bayanihan To Recover as One Bill or Bayanihan 2, the lawmakers acknowledged the “great leaps” in COVID-19 testing capacity of the country.

They, however, asked the President to provide plans to establish COVID-19 testing in remote areas.

“Notwithstanding great leaps in our testing capability, more work need to be done to make the tests available even to the far-flung areas of the country. It appears our testing capabilities are heavily concentrated in the urban centers/big cities and other more developed areas to the prejudice of other more isolated areas of the country that need such service,” the report read.

“Accordingly, the Senate requests for information on how our testing capability is spread throughout the country,” they added.

In Duterte’s first Bayanihan 2 report, the Department of Health reported 138 COVID-19 testing laboratories in the country with each region having a licensed COVID-19 testing laboratory as of 30 September.

The lawmakers also questioned the failure of some laboratories to submit COVID-19 data, asking the DOH on its response on these particular cases in order to provide timely information in the country’s COVID-19 bulletin.

The lawmakers urged the Executive Department to provide an action plan on mass testing, asking them to provide a benchmark in identifying the target number of people to be tested.

On the other hand, the lawmakers acknowledged DOH’s efforts in seeking more enterprises to conduct clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccines.

Senate’s response on President Duterte’s first Bayanihan 2 report was sent to the Office of the President on Thursday morning.

Bayanihan 2 is set to expire on 19 December or upon the adjournment of Congress.

The measure provides President Duterte more flexibility in exercising his powers to address the COVID-19 crisis in the country.

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