Malacañang Palace (13 July 2020) – National Action Plan (NAP) Against COVID-19 Deputy Chief Implementer and Chief Testing Czar Secretary Vince Dizon says the total number of tests conducted in the country is expected to breach the one million mark within the month.

This developed as the Department of Health’s (DOH) COVID-19 Philippine Situationer report showed that 978,884 novel coronavirus tests have been carried out as of July 12.

“Kung maaalala n’yo po, ito po ang target na si-net natin noong nakaraang buwan, na by the end of July, isang milyon na po ang test natin at ngayon ay wala pang kalahating buwan ng Hulyo ay nasa halos 1 million na tayo at papunta na po tayo sa nasabing target ng Chief Implementer na sampung milyong test by next year,” said Dizon during a press conference in Malacañang today.

(If you can remember, this was our target set last month, that by end of July, we will reach 1 million tests and now, we are not even halfway through July yet and we already have almost 1 million tests conducted and we are gearing towards reaching 10-million target by next year as mentioned by our Chief Implementer.)

According to Dizon, the daily testing capacity of the country has increased from only 500 tests in March to 23,000 tests as of July 9, and is about to hit the 32,000 daily testing capacity targeted to be achieved by the government by the end of this month.

He explained that the increase is due to the government’s faster accreditation of testing laboratories throughout the country. From only one testing laboratory in February, there are now 85 testing facilities nationwide.

Dizon said the Department of Health (DOH) is set to release expanded testing guidelines, a move that is expected to further scale up the nation’s testing capacity.

Once the guidelines are approved, he said frontliners such as uniformed personnel, barangay workers, as well as the frontliners of private establishments who include service crew, security guards, and other personnel will qualify for RT-PCR testing which shall be covered by PhilHealth.


‘Localized lockdowns’

“The National Action Plan Phase II, which will cover June to September 2020, will center on saving lives and mitigating the impact as one, towards economic and social recovery,” said National Task Force against COVID-19 Chief Implementer Carlito G. Galvez, Jr during the same press conference.

Galvez said the strategy under the NAP’s Phase II will allow the gradual re-opening of the economy provided that private companies will ensure the health and well-being of their employees by adhering to minimum health standards.

He said the role of local government units (LGUs), the private sector, and the citizens themselves in preventing the spread of the virus will be further reinforced under this phase wherein localized lockdowns will be implemented.

Galvez added stricter community quarantine protocols will be enforced based on granular data coming from sitios, barangays, and municipalities where there have been spikes in the number of COVID-19 cases.

The NAP’s second phase will still be guided by the government’s “Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate” (PDITR) strategy or end to end Test, Trace, Isolate and Treat.

The designated point persons for these strategies are the following: COVID-19 Chief Testing Czar Sec. Dizon; Chief Tracing Czar Mayor Benjie Magalong; Chief Isolation (Facilities) Czar Sec Mark Villar and Chief Treatment Czar USec. Leopold Vega.

Presidential Spokesperson Atty. Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte is set to announce the latest quarantine classifications on Wednesday, July 15. ###