Robredo: Govt should release guidelines for COVID-19 home test kits soon

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 9) — Vice President Leni Robredo is calling on the government to hasten the issuance of guidelines for the use of home antigen test kits as the country’s COVID-19 testing capacity is being stretched.

“Sa ibang bansa, ina-allow na nila ‘yung home testing. Kapag masyado natin inistriktuhan ‘yung testing, nagko-congest [ang laboratories],” Robredo said in her weekly radio show on Sunday.

[Translation: In other countries, home testing is already allowed. If we will become strict with testing, laboratories will be congested.]

The Vice President also said there were reports of delays in the release of test results due to backlogs in laboratories, and once the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves the use of home antigen test kits, these would speed up testing.

“So napakahalaga ng antigen test. ‘Yung mga may pambili, pwede na makabili. So sana madaliaan na ‘yung paglabas ng regulation nito, para ‘yung mga tao hindi na magsiksikan [sa testing centers],” she added.

[Translation: Antigen test is important. Those who can afford, they can just purchase one. So I’m hoping that the guidelines for the regulation for this will be immediately released to prevent congestion in testing centers.]

The FDA is accepting applications for Special Certification for COVID-19 home test kits. All the antigen tests currently approved by the FDA are only administered by healthcare professionals in laboratories.

The Department of Health is expected to release the guidelines for the use of home test kits on Jan. 17.

Robredo also renewed her call for mass testing amid the uptick in COVID-19 cases.

“Ang dami ngayong asymptomatic. Kung hindi mo ma-test ‘yung asymptomatic, umiikot siya ng hindi niya alam na nakakahawa siya. Mahalagang ang testing kasi ito ang magiging basis kung kailangan mo mag-quarantine o mag-isolate,” she said.

[Translation: Many are asymptomatic. If you will not test them, they will just roam around unaware that they are infecting other people. Testing is important because this will be the basis if you need to quarantine or isolate.]

She noted that the government should have already tested many people when the infections started to rise.

“Dapat sana nung may uptick na ng number of cases, nag-test na ng test para na-contain na. Eh hindi, pahirapan na yung testing ngayon,” added Robredo.

[Translation: They should have tested many people as they can when there was already an uptick in cases. Right now, we are already having problems in our testing.]

On Saturday, the country broke its highest single-day tally of infections with 26,458 new cases recorded.