Free mass testing and systematic treatment amid surge of COVID cases pushed

Free mass testing and systematic treatment amid surge of COVID cases pushed

Manila, Philippines — With the recent spike of cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to almost 8,000 daily, the government must still pursue free mass testing, along with systematic isolation and free treatment to contain the spread of the pandemic virus, according to the national fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Friday.

In a statement, the fishers’ group said that the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test for qualitative detection of COVID-19 remains inaccessible to public, especially to the poor.

“If symptoms of the virus persist, poor sectors are helpless because there is no accessible and affordable testing. WIthout the testing, the spread of the virus would be uninterrupted and the person possibly acquired it would be exposed to more vulnerabilities as there would be no necessary treatment unless tested positive by the virus,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.

“After a year of militaristic yet unscientific lockdowns, the public health system remains crippled as it is, and the pandemic, more than ever, is still completely out of control. The Duterte government clearly has no holistic solutions to curb the virus. There is no free mass testing, aggressive contact tracing, free treatment, and a fortiori there is no massive vaccination,” Hicap, former Anakpawis Party-list Representative added.

The fishers’ group suggests to develop and promote the testing kits developed by the Philippine Genome Center of the University of the Philippines (UP) and not fully rely on imports to ensure its accessibility and affordability. ###

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