MANILA The confirmed coronavirus infections in the Philippines have climbed to 3,094, after 76 more cases were recorded on Saturday, the lowest single-day increase in a week.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a virtual media briefing that the viral disease has claimed the lives of 144 people. Fifty seven patients have recovered.

Vergeire said that the Philippines’ capacity to conduct COVID-19 tests has significantly improved with the availability of more tests kits.

At the onset of the disease in January, she said the Department of Health (DOH) could only conduct up to 300 tests per day. But the DOH can now conduct up to 1,200 tests per day, she said.

“We expect that by April 14, the government will be able to conduct more than 3,000 tests per day,” Vergeire said, adding that the government goal is to conduct up to 10,000 tests per day by the end of April.

Vergeire also said that the approval of the Food and Drug Administration of COVID-19 test kits made by local scientists from the University of the Philippines’ National Institute for Health will further boost the government’s capacity to conduct tests.

The Philippines now has eight laboratories to conduct tests and process the results in a short time.

To prevent community spread, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, spokesman for the inter-agency task force on COVID-19, the government is readying quarantine facilities.

Three quarantine facilities being readied in Metro Manila can accommodate nearly 2,000 beds. “We are also looking for other facilities, including ship,” he added.

Nograles also said that most of the members of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Cabinet have committed to chipping in by donating three-fourths of their salaries to augment the government’s funds in responding and containing the spread of the coronavirus disease.

Source: China – ASEAN Business Council

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