Philippine COVID-19 Cases Drop as Testing Falls Below Target

·1 min read
Public transportation drivers queue in Baseco to undergo a free swab test courtesy of the Manila City government on October 6, 2020. (Photo by Mohd Sarajan/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Public transportation drivers queue in Baseco to undergo a free swab test courtesy of the Manila City government on October 6, 2020. (Photo by Mohd Sarajan/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

By Andreo Calonzo

The Philippines reported fewer coronavirus cases this week amid a slowdown in testing, with the Red Cross suspending most of its COVID-19 operations after it wasn’t paid by the state health insurer.

Authorities reported nearly 1,500 new cases on Wednesday – the lowest since 1,442 on July 20 – with the daily tally below 2,000 in the past three days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Samples tested plunged to nearly half of the 30,000 daily target at the start of this week, according to Department of Health data.

The Philippine Red Cross, which accounts for a quarter of the nation’s testing output, last week said it’s stopping coronavirus tests that are charged to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. due to nearly 1 billion pesos ($20.6 million) in unpaid bills. These include tests administered to thousands of Filipino workers returning from abroad.

The impasse has caused bottleneck in the nation’s testing capacity and has affected the daily output of laboratories, BusinessMirror reported, citing Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.