MANILA, Philippines — A member of the House of Representatives lauded yesterday the commercial release of Philippine-made coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) test kits, saying these would eventually pave the way for rejuvenating the country’s nearly idle economy.
“So far, the country has been on the economic defensive. With these innovations, we can now take steps to support new industries, new businesses, and new sources of scientific and technological development,” Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said.
The chairman of the House ways and means committee said he will be talking with the Departments of Finance and Trade and Industry to ensure that local health innovations are part of the strategic investment priorities plan (SIPP) under the CREATE bill.
CREATE stands for Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises.
Salceda also declared that the country’s COVID-19 related innovations should be “zealously pursued as potential exports to countries with similar challenges as ours.”
“Many countries in our region fit the kind of development constraints that the Philippines has. So, there is a lot of potential in the innovations that have been coming out of the Philippines lately,” he said.
The Department of Health (DOH) reiterated yesterday that rapid antibody test kits should not be used as clearance to return to work as there is evidence of inaccuracy in detecting COVID-19 infection.
In a press briefing, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they do not recommend the mass screening of workers using the rapid tests.
According to Vergeire, these kits can detect antibodies that a person may develop after recovering from an infection, not necessarily a COVID.
“Unfortunately, many companies are doing this because they want their workers to return to work… But we don’t recommend this for mass testing,” Vergeire added
The DOH also reported yesterday that there were 68,898 cases of COVID-19 due to 1,521 new cases recorded as of July 20. This is based on the total tests done by 62 out of 84 laboratories.
Of the 1,521 new cases, 1,237 came from the National Capital Region while 51 each were from Cavite and Laguna, 34 from Rizal and 22 from Davao del Sur.
The DOH said there were 43,991 active cases. This pertains to the net of COVID-19 deaths and recoveries.
The agency noted 607 recoveries, bringing the total recoveries to 23,072.
On the other hand, there were four new fatalities, raising the death toll to 1,835. – Sheila Criostomo, Rainier Allan Ronda
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