Gov't eyes testing of all suspected COVID-19 cases, frontliners by May 15

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 28) — The government will ramp up its testing efforts on suspected COVID-19 cases and frontliners to further contain the spread of the virus before the enhanced community quarantine ends.

National Task Force COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. made the announcement on Tuesday during the virtual technical working group meeting of the House Defeat COVID-19 Committee's peace and order cluster.

Galvez said they will aggressively hold a "massive and expanded testing" of all persons under investigation, persons under monitoring, and frontliners by prioritizing the National Capital Region, the "center of gravity" of the outbreak by May 7.

"We believe that the NCR is the center of gravity. Once we have finished and we were able to flatten the curve in NCR, we believe that we are 70 percent finished in winning the fight against COVID-19," he added.

The government will also do extensive testing under other "red" or high-risk areas not later than May 15.

"We are planning to test all PUIs and suspected COVID-19 cases and frontliners not later than May 15, so the red areas can be evaluated to become orange or yellow areas," Galvez said.

He added that they are targeting 20,000 tests per day not later than May 15 and 30,000 tests per day by May 30, with a 24-48 hour period of release of results.

Establishment of testing laboratories, COVID-19 referral hospitals and quarantine areas at the regional, provincial and city levels is still in place, while the government will continue to reconfigure all facilities that will adopt to the "new normal" of social and physical distancing protocols, he added.

One-stop shops for rapid testing are readily available in airports, while inbound overseas Filipino workers, seafarers, and other overseas Filipinos will also be properly processed.

Over 16,000 OFWs who have returned to the country are currently in different quarantine centers, Galvez said.