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Robredo urges Senate, House to consider mass testing for COVID-19 in special session

By Raymund Antonio 

Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday called on the Senate and the House of Representatives to discuss the possibility of mass testing for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as Congress is set to convene in a special session to address the fight against the pandemic viral disease.

Vice-President Leni Robredo (OVP / Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)

Vice-President Leni Robredo (OVP / Facebook / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Sana kapag session ng Kongreso mapag-usapan iyong maraming bagay na wala tayo. Iyong una, support sa mga hospital, iyong testing,” she said on her radio show, “BISErbisyong Leni.”

(I hope in the session of Congress, they will discuss the several things that we are lacking. First, the support to the hospitals and testing.)

Robredo noted the Philippines was among the countries with the highest death rate for the COVID-19 due to the limited testing capacity.

“Ngayon, mababa pa iyong numero natin pero kapag tiningnan mo numero, isa tayo sa pinakamataas na mortality rate. Ang dahilan nito undetected iyong COVID-19,” she said.

(At present, our number of coronavirus cases is low, but if you look at the figures, we are one of those that have highest mortality rate. The reason behind it is the undetected COVID-19.)

Ahead of the Congress joint session on Monday, Robredo expressed hope that lawmakers will thoroughly discuss the government’s response on the impact of the pandemic.

Both chambers of Congress will hold the special session to approve a measure that will allow President Duterte to realign available funds for food and cash allowance to support over 16 million families affected by COVID-19.

As of March 21, the Philippines recorded 307 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 19 casualties.

The vice president said she supports the realignment of the budget to fund the urgent healthcare needs such as the personal protective equipment (PPEs) and test kits and equip the hospitals that would exclusively treat COVID-19 patients.

“Ayaw natin mangyari iyong nangyayari sa Italy na kulang ng mga ventilators, oxygen, equipment dahil sa dami. Hindi pa man dumarating sa puntong iyon, paghandaan na, pati lugar,” she said.

(We don’t want to experience what is happening in Italy, where ventilators, oxygen, equipment are lacking due to its several cases. While we have not reached that point, let us prepare, including the hospitals.)

Robredo explained that once mass testing is implemented, the government would be able to separate those who are infected, therefore, containing the spread of the viral disease.

“Ito iyong best practice ng South Korea. Kaya napigil nila kasi nagtest sila ng napakarami (This is the best practice of South Korea. They were able to stop it because they tested a lot of people),” she said.

Source: Manila Bulletin

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