THE Department of Health (DOH) on Monday, March 23, denied that it is prioritizing high-ranking government officials in testing for Covid-19, a respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
In a radio interview Monday morning, March 23, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the agency is not neglecting the patients under investigation (PUIs).
“Gusto ko lang linawin, hindi napapabayaan 'yung ating PUIs. Lahat naman inaasikaso,” Vergeire said.
“’Yun pong mga sinasabi nilang na-test na mga high level officials, most of them pumasok sa criteria namin. May exposure sila, nakapag-travel sila so they were tested,” she explained.
“Criteria for testing all patients follows published screening protocols. Following an update of the screening protocols last March 16, only PUIs with mild symptoms who are elderly, with underlying conditions, and admitted PUIs in severe critical condition are eligible for testing,” the DOH said.
Personalities who have taken the Covid-19 tests are President Rodrigo Duterte, his partner Honeylet Avanceña and their daughter Veronica “Kitty” Duterte. Duterte’s children were also tested for the coronavirus.
Officials who were also tested include Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Nancy Binay, and Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, who tested positive for the virus despite being asymptomatic.
Other officials who were tested are Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, and Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade.
The DOH assured that with the arrival of 100,000 new testing kits and accreditation of additional sub-national laboratories, more cases will be detected and “appropriately managed.” (SunStar Philippines)