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Gov’t targets to hit 2 million COVID-19 tests by next month

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THE GOVERNMENT is targeting to do two million coronavirus tests by August after exceeding its daily testing capacity goal for July to 33,000 tests daily.

About 1.4 million tests have been conducted so far, Vivencio B. Dizon, deputy chief enforcer of the government’s anti-COVID-19 efforts, said at an online news briefing on Thursday.

He said the government had started a dry run of pooled testing involving the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa City and the private sector. This would boost testing capacity and allow the state to use testing kits more efficiently, he added.

The Department of Health (DoH) reported 3,954 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, bringing the total to 89,374.

The death toll rose to 1,983 after 23 more patients died, while recoveries rose by a record 38,075 to 65,064, it said in a bulletin.

DoH traced the spike in cases and recoveries to the “enhanced data reconciliation efforts” with local government units.

The agency said 1,320 new cases were reported in the past three days, while 2,634 were reported late.

Of the new cases, 1,703 were from Metro Manila, 958 from Cebu, 177 from Laguna, 90 from Rizal and 87 from Cavite.

Active cases fell to 22,327, 88% of which were mild, 9.6% did not show symptoms, 1.4% were severe and 1% were critical, it said.

Meanwhile, the government said the country had less than 1% efficiency in contact-tracing, Baguio City Mayor and contact-tracing czar Benjamin Magalong told the briefing. The country has more than 65,000 contact tracers, he said.

“It’s sad that our contact-tracing efficiency is low — only 0.68%,” he said in Filipino. He added that of the more than 1,800 local governments asked to respond to a poll on tracing capability, only 614 answered.

Mr. Magalong said contact tracers would be trained in interviewing and using analytical tools and technologies. — Gillian M. Cortez and Vann Marlo M. Villegas





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