MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang on Saturday (March 27) made public the government’s plan to buy 500,000 antigen kits for house-to-house coronavirus testing of residents.
At an announcement aired on state-run PTV 4, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the antigen kits would complement the more exhaustive RT-PCR testing devices.
“We have this brand of antigen test that has a high efficacy rate which has been approved by the FDA and DOH,” Roque said, using the acronyms of Food and Drug Administration and Department of Health.
“And we will buy 500,000 antigen testing kits to augment our RT-PCR,” he said.
Roque added that the new kits would be used for house visits of teams from the government’s Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE) program.
“This will be used especially for CODE, or the house-to-house visits to look for those who have symptoms and who will be tested then isolated,” he said.
Metro Manila and four provinces near it—Cavite, Laguna, Batangas and Rizal—had earlier been put on enhanced community quarantine, the most stringent form of lockdown in the Philippines, starting on March 29 until April 4 in response to a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Roque did not provide a timeline for the purchase of the new testing kits and the house-to-house visits of CODE teams. It was not clear whether these would take place during the one-week ECQ of Metro Manila and the four provinces near it.
READ: Metro Manila, 4 provinces under ECQ due to COVID-19 surge — Palace
As of March 27, the Philippines recorded 9,595 new cases, driving the number of active infections to 118,112.
READ: PH’s COVID-19 active cases near 120,000 mark with 9,595 new infections
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