BAGUIO CITY – Health Secretary Francisco Duque III underscored that the conduct of mass testing is just a waste of the government’s limited resources because it is being done without any concrete direction to help in containing the ongoing surge in Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases triggered by the more infectious and more transmissible omicron variant.
Duque, who led the launching of the Resbakuna sa Botika at Watson’s in SM City Baguio here, stated that the conduct of mass testing is not a prudent way of managing the government’s limited resources and what is being highly recommended is the conduct of risk-based and targeted testing so that the best value of the money invested in this could be achieved.
The health official pointed out that the mass testing in developed countries did not actually work because despite the high testing rate, the said countries still reported COVID-19 cases that are now in the millions.
Further, he claimed that the use of antigen as an early detection tool should not be considered for mass testing because it will not work if those that are subjected to antigen test are not symptomatic or exposed.
Secretary Duque pointed out that it is best for people who are symptomatic and those exposed to COVID-19 positive patients to be tested so that the government gets the best value for money without compromising the quality of the response to the deadly virus.
According to him, the government has limited resources because of the high cost of the medical supplies needed for the effective and efficient anti-COVID-19 response so concerned government agencies and local governments should be prudent in the utilization of the available resources so that there will be no waste of the available resources.
The Secretary advised that the best way for people to avoid contracting any variant of the deadly virus is for them to continue complying with the minimum public health standards, particularly the wearing of face mask at all times, observance of physical distancing and the practice of personal hygiene and regular disinfection.
Duque disclosed that people must be extra careful because around 40 percent of those that have contracted the Omicron variant are asymptomatic and the onset of symptoms will just take 3 days.
Moreover, Duque emphasized that discipline matter for people to consistently comply with the minimum public health standards which is the easiest way for them to be spared from the severe complications of the illness that might compromise their health, aside from ensuring that they are fully vaccinated with the vaccines that have been declared to be of good quality, safe and reliable.
He encouraged those fully vaccinated to avail of the booster shots that are already available in selected drug stores in the key cities in the country for them to continue to be protected from contracting the severe infection of the virus that could cause their hospitalization or their eventual death.