Media must be covered by expanded testing - Dizon

Media personnel who continue their service to the public despite the risk of COVID-19 should be covered by the government’s expanded targeted testing, National Action Plan Against COVID-19 Deputy Chief Implementer Vince Dizon said Friday.

In a press conference held at the Philippine Red Cross Molecular Laboratory in Clark, Pampanga with Senator Richard Gordon, Dizon said the Department of Health (DOH) should identify the media as “frontliners.”

The COVID-19 tests, Dizon said, should be administered for free under the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) coverage.

“We have to test all of you. What we will do now, Senator (Richard) Gordon and myself, we will ask the DOH to include the media as frontliners so that ‘yung mga tests niyo, sagot na rin ng PhilHealth,” Dizon told the media.

Dizon earlier said that with the increased testing capacity, the government can further expand its testing to more frontliners and asymptomatics.

PRC Chairman and CEO Senator Richard Gordon, Dizon, and local government officials inspected the molecular laboratory in Clark, which has the capacity to conduct 2,000 tests per day.

“You can really see the commitment of Red Cross to fight COVID together with the government. The challenge now is to test at the community level,” said Dizon.

Senator Gordon emphasized the importance of conducting COVID-19 tests.

“Hindi lang tayo nagte-test para lang sa testing. ‘Pag na-test niyo ang tao, pwede nang magtrabaho ‘yan. Kung hindi natin te-testingin ang tao natin, at marami sa lugar natin ay hindi nagpapa-test, hindi papasok ang hanapbuhay,” said Gordon.

As of Friday, there are 62 COVID-19 laboratories nationwide, with a total maximum capacity of 51,302.

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