PH tops six Asian countries with highest COVID-19 tests conducted in July
The Philippines ranks first among countries that conduct the most number of COVID-19 tests in Asia, besting six others with more than 30,000 tests conducted daily. This was presented by National Action Plan Against COVID-19 Deputy Chief Implementer Sec. Vince Dizon in a webinar today, August 5.
Figures gathered by England-based data and research platform Our World in Data show that the Philippines has increased its daily number of tests conducted to more than 30,000, doubling Japan's figures of 15,115 tests as of end-July. Other Asian countries such as Indonesia performed 12,777 tests, South Korea had 7,957 tests, and Malaysia conducted 6,494 tests as of the same date. Singapore recorded 6,402 tests based on July 27 data while Vietnam tallied 10,906 tests from March to April.
"We are now among the countries that test the most in Asia. We are double that of Japan already, in tests per day, and far outpacing the other countries in Asia. This shows us that if we work together--and the private sector was instrumental in helping us, we were able to beef up our testing capacity to the levels that we see today," Dizon said.
"In March, we were testing 500 tests per day and now we're up to around 35,000 but we're not stopping there," Dizon said. "The Department of Health is constantly pushing to test more especially now that there's a resurgence in cases in the National Capital Region and some areas in CALABARZON."
The webinar “Can the Philippines Dance with COVID-19?" hosted by GeiserMaclang and Angkas also had Department of Health Undersecretary Rosette Vergeire, former Health Secretary Dr. Manolet Dayrit, Filinvest CEO Josephine Yap, and University of the Philippines-Manila College of Public Health Dean Dr. Vicente Belizario.
Dizon earlier stated that the country performed a total of 35,000 tests on July 25, surpassing its goal of conducting 30,000 tests per day by the end of July. This brings a total of 1.616 million tests performed as of August 3, which can be attributed to the increase of laboratories that can process COVID-19 tests nationwide. To date, the Philippines has 99 RT-PCR laboratories, from only one lab in February.
"We have to push testing especially in areas with high prevalence of COVID-19. But again, the only way for us to effectively combat COVID-19 is to work together. The national government can't do this alone; it has to be a whole-of-society approach. And with the responsibility of each member of the society: the local government units, the provincial governments, the private companies, and most importantly, individual citizens, have to all come together in order for us to effectively manage and eventually beat COVID-19," Dizon underscored.
The national government is aggressively implementing its expanded testing strategy which now includes asymptomatics, economy workers, and non-medical frontliners, including those in the transport, logistics, media, services, food, tourism, and retail sectors.