TRADE SECRETARY Ramon M. Lopez said he will recommend coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing priority for workers exhibiting symptoms, while offering testing as an option for “healthy” workers after the lockdown is lifted.

“’Yung medyo may sinat, masama ang pakiramdam — and therefore kung suspect — sila po ‘yung kailangan sigurong i-test bago sila mag-report for work. But those who are healthy — optional po ‘yun (Those who feel unwell — and are therefore suspect — should probably be tested before they report for work. But those who are healthy — that’s optional), Mr. Lopez said over DZMM radio Wednesday.

He said the post-pandemic workplace practices might involve having employees making a health declaration, recounting their travel history and possible contact with COVID-19 patients or with persons under investigation or monitoring.

Mr. Lopez said private companies can decide on whether or not to require all workers to be tested prior to restarting operations.

“As you all know, we are coming from a quarantine period… kung hindi tayo nagkasakit, malaki ‘yung chance naman na wala ho talaga tayong sakit (If we did not get sick, there’s a big chance that we don’t have COVID-19),” he said during the Laging Handa briefing Wednesday.

He said the trade and labor departments will soon release guidelines on minimum health requirements for businesses.

Areas like Metro Manila and CALABARZON remain under enhanced community quarantine until May 15, while moderate and low-risk areas have been placed under a more relaxed general community quarantine.

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Jose Ma. A. Concepcion has launched Project ARK (Antibody Rapid-test Kits), a private sector-led project to increase COVID-19 testing. — Jenina P. Ibañez