Some evacuees to undergo COVID-19 antigen testing – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   November 17, 2020   •   282

MANILA, Philippines – Testing for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is being rolled out in evacuation centers where thousands of residents are staying after they fled their homes during the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses, last week, Malacañang said Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the government will use antigen tests which analyze nasal and oral specimen and can yield results in minutes.

Roque issued the statement in response to the appeal of the OCTA Research Team to local government units to ensure enough and accessible testing, effective contact tracing and the establishment of isolation facilities for evacuees to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

“Bago pa po imungkahi yan ng OCTA research group. Inaassure ko po kayo na in-place na po yung polisiya ng gobyerno na magbigay po ng COVID testing sa mga evacuation centers. Ngayon po, ang gagamitin nga po natin, mas marami at mas mabilis ay ang antigen testing sa lahat ng ating evacuation centers,” he said.

The Department of Health (DOH) earlier warned of a strong possibility of COVID-19 transmission in evacuation centers if minimum health protocols are not strictly observed.

Persons who are at risk of developing severe COVID-19, including the elderly, pregnant women, and those with underlying health problems should be placed in separate quarters, the DOH added.

Roque, however, said that not all evacuees will be subjected to COVID-19 testing as those showing symptoms of the viral respiratory disease will be prioritized. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte wants free COVID-19 testing in PH health facilities

Marje Pelayo   •   December 8, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte wants state-run hospitals to provide free COVID-19 swab tests after taking note of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III’s report on the government’s price cap for COVID-19 testing in public and private laboratories as stated in Executive Order No. 118.

According to the report, private laboratories charge P4,500 to P5,000 for each reverse-transcription -polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test while public testing centers charge P3,800.

Duterte ordered Duque to study the possibility of providing free COVID-19 testing preferably by next year.

Tingnan ko kung may pera magbili na lang tayo (Let me check first if we have the fund to purchase [testing kits]). In all government hospitals or health centers, magbigay natin ng libre (let us give it) free of charge. Our target is the second quarter. If you can have a program where you can review and look for the money,” Duterte told Duque during a late night briefing on Monday (December 7).

Meanwhile, the President calls on hotels, inns and motels to accommodate suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients saying he will take responsibility for the expenses.

He directed local government units to come up with an arrangement regarding this.

Once the establishment agrees to accept COVID-19 patients, the facility cannot accept other patrons. 

Several hotels have already agreed to this and have been serving as quarantine facilities for returning overseas Filipinos.

“Arrange with the hotels na pwede munang gamitin lalo na sa panahong ito (that can be utilized especially during this time ),” he said addressing the LGUs.

“To the owners of hotels, inns, motels maybe, maybe kung wala ng iba,
nagkulang
(if there are no other facilities available), to accommodate Filipinos who are in need of help. I will assume the full responsibility of paying you,” the President said. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

COVID-19 testing service ng PH Red Cross sa NAIA, hindi pa naibabalik

Robie de Guzman   •   October 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Hindi pa rin umano naibabalik ang COVID-19 testing ng Philippine Red Cross (PRC) para sa overseas Filipino workers (OFW) na dumarating sa Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Ayon kay Department of Transportation (DOTr) – Office of the Transportation Security (OTS) head, Undersecretary Raul del Rosario, hinihintay pa ng One-Stop-Shop (OSS) ang opisyal na koordinasyon mula sa National Task Force para sa pagbabalik ng COVID-19 testing na ginagawa ng PRC sa NAIA.

Ang OSS ay joint initiative ng DOTr at OTS para magbigay-ayuda, kabilang na ang pagsasagawa ng swab testing, sa mga turista, locally stranded individuals at mga OFW na umuuwi sa bansa sa gitna ng COVID-19 pandemic.

Habang suspindido pa ang serbisyo ng PRC, tiniyak ni Del Rosario na magpapatuloy pa rin ang pagproseso ng 12 laboratoryo sa swab testing ng mga OFW.

“There are social media stories about the resumption of the swabbing by Red Cross. As head of TGMROF, pending official instructions from the NTF Chair, the government will continue to render FREE RT-PCR related services to all returning OFWs. As what we have collectively done, we shall continue to aspire to give the most efficient service to these OFWs,” ang pahayag ni Del Rosario

Una nang sinabi ni PRC chairman, Senator Richard Gordon na ibabalik na ng Red Cross ang swab testing services nito na sagot ng Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) matapos bayaran ng ahensiya ang kalahati sa higit P1 bilyon nitong utang sa PRC noong Martes.

Noong nakaraang linggo ay itinigil ng PRC ang COVID-19 testing services nito na binabayaran ng PhilHealth dahil sa lumulobo nitong utang.

Ngunit giit ni Gordon, kailangan pa ring bayaran ng PhilHealth ang natitira nitong balanse sa loob ng susunod na tatlong araw alinsunod sa pinasok nilang kontrata.

“We are not waiting. We’re preparing a letter, saying we thank you for your payment, but we need you to pay the whole amount in accordance with the contract,” ang pahayag ni Gordon.

Sa ngayon ay wala pang tugon ang PhilHealth sa pahayag ni Gordon. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Joan Nano)

Red Cross resumes COVID-19 testing after PhilHealth settles P500-M partial payment

Marje Pelayo   •   October 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) resumed its coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing services Tuesday evening (October 27) after the embattled Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) settled a partial payment of P500-million for its P1.1-billion debt.

In an online press briefing, PRC Chairman Senator Richard Gordon said he already requested all PRC laboratories, including the one at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), to resume the provision of swab testing services to PhilHealth.

Gordon’s announcement was made hours after the state insurer paid half of its arrears.

“So we are ready to test all the people that we have not tested. Iyong mga nasa hotel ngayon, padala nila, tetestingin namin agad iyan (Those staying in hotels, send them to us and we will test them),” Gordon said.

“We are going to have the testing again tonight at the Manila international airport muna, then tomorrow (Wednesday) regular testing will be conducted in full,” he added.

The Senator stressed, however, that though they did not set any deadline for PhilHealth to settle the remaining balance, they will no longer allow any repeat of the financial issues with the agency.

Thus, he said, they will immediately bill the government for future tests.

In a statement, PhiHealth President and CEO Atty. Dante Gierran assured they will expedite the processing of the remaining balance subject to strict compliance with government accounting rules and regulations.

“PhilHealth takes exception to the insinuation that it is reckless and is playing on people’s lives,” he said.

“Its prudence in taking charge of its members’ hard-earned contributions is central to the state health insurer. Its exercise of judiciousness is to protect the people and their funds,” he added.

PhilHealth maintained that it recognizes and assures the accredited laboratories conducting the current OFW RT-PCR tests that it will fast track the processing of its payments upon submission of complete documentary requirements.

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