PURO DALDAL, WALA KA NAMAN SOLUSYON! May reklamo na naman si Senador Lacson.

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Lacson: Worst is yet to come unless COVID-19 test kits are more accessible

March 26, 2020

The Philippines has yet to see the coronavirus disease 2019’s (COVID-19) worst-case scenario unless the government agencies leading the laboratory tests for detection of the virus let go of their overly restrictive regulations, according to Senator Panfilo Lacson.

“What we lack is the ability of the Department of Health to be more flexible,” Lacson said in a statement released on Wednesday.

“As of last Monday, when we were deliberating on the just-signed Bayanihan To Heal As One Act, we tested only 1,500 Filipinos, more or less. With a population of 107 million, the worst is yet to come unless DOH and FDA act with urgency,” he added.

The senator pointed out that hundreds of thousands of rapid test kits that local businessmen bought from South Korea and China for donation have arrived in the country over a week ago.

“Yet, a big volume is still being held by Customs. Why?” he asked.

Lacson stressed that those test kits are already in use in their countries of origin and have already gained the certification of their respective regulatory agencies.

The lawmaker lamented over the supposed refusal of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue provisional authorities for the distribution of those donated rapid test kits.

Lacson said that if people with symptoms or with direct contact to infected patients would be able to access those kits that can be done on a “do-it-yourself” basis, they can get faster results and immediately practice self-isolation.

“Our lockdown is obviously working, no doubt. We can see it ourselves even from the windows of our own houses. But it is not enough by itself to flatten the COVID-19 curve,” he said.

He underscored that South Korea, which recorded over 9,000 coronavirus cases, was able to control the further spread of the virus “through mass testing, not lockdown.”

Lacson introduced a tailor-fit solution for the problem in the newly-enacted “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act,” which authorizes the President to “ensure that donation, acceptance and distribution of health products intended to address the COVID-19 public health emergency are not unnecessarily delayed and that health products for donation duly certified by the regulatory agency or their accredited third party from countries with established regulation shall automatically be cleared.”

GMA News Online reached out to the FDA for comment but has yet to receive a response as of posting time.

As of March 25, the FDA has approved 11 brands of COVID-19 test kits for commercial use. These are manufactured in China, South Korea, United Kingdom, Germany, Singapore, USA, and Spain.

These are PCR based reagent kits used in laboratories and not point-of-care or do-it-yourself kits, according to the FDA. 

KBK, GMA News

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Lacson: Worst is yet to come unless COVID-19 test kits are more accessible