Philippine Red Cross (PRC) chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) Richard Gordon, along with government officials and health experts, reminded the public to exercise “extraordinary diligence” in getting tested for Covid-19.
Gordon made the advice after Dr. Michael Tee from the University of the Philippines-Manila said eight out of 10 Covid-19 cases are asymptomatic, which means they cannot be detected and isolated based on temperature checks alone.
Some overseas Filipino workers who were supposedly screened and cleared abroad before flying to the Philippines also tested positive upon arrival, Tee and his team of researchers found out.
Gordon emphasized the importance of continuously testing, tracing, and treating the virus even amid the vaccination rollout.
“Dapat talaga atupagin ng gobyerno ‘yan at atupagin ng tao na sila ay ma-test. Sapagkat kung hindi sila ma-test, manghahawa sila kung sila ay may sakit. At kung sila ay mai-test, maililipat sila sa magandang lugar na magagamot sila, pipiliting pagalingin sila, at marami namang gumagaling (The government should work to test them (asymptomatic). If not, they can infect if they are positive. And if they will be tested positive, they can be brought to isolation centers where they will be treated. Many have already recovered),” he said.
Covid-19 testing czar Vince Dizon agreed with Gordon, citing the increasing local cases of Covid-19 variants particularly the South Africa and the United Kingdom strain and after the Department of Health detected two “mutations of concern” in cases in Central Visayas.
“Kailangan po lalo pa nating pa-iigtingin ang ating testing, and kailangan naman po ay talagang pabilisin natin ang pagpapalaganap nitong mga Saliva Test (We should intensify our testing, and hasten the use of saliva test),” Dizon said.
Since its launch last month, the PRC has processed almost 24,000 saliva samples using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) machines in its molecular laboratories nationwide.
Gordon has also inked partnerships with the private sector to offer the cheaper, non-invasive, but accurate saliva tests in drive-thru collection booths in malls, and through home service.
Dizon stressed that PRC’s Saliva RT-PCR test is the only saliva test stringently reviewed and approved by regulators.
To date, the PRC leads Covid-19 testing in the country, having exceeded 2 million swab tests nationwide, a milestone that accounts for 24 percent of the country’s testing output, and for about 37 percent of testing in the National Capital Region.