Gov’t lowers prices of coronavirus tests effective Sept. 6

THE DEPARTMENT of Health (DoH) has lowered the prices of coronavirus tests further under an order issued on Aug. 26.

Prices of cartridge-based reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests should not exceed P2,450 in public laboratories and P2,940 in private laboratories according to a copy of the circular that will take effect on Sept. 6.

Prices of plate-based RT-PCR testing should not exceed P2,800 in public laboratories and P3,360 in private laboratories. Home service swab test prices should not exceed regular RT-PCR tests by P1,000.

Meanwhile, prices of rapid antigen tests should not exceed P960, DoH said in a separate circular that took effect on Aug. 16.

Last year, the government set the price cap for RT-PCR testing at P3,800 to P5,000.

RT-PCR is one of the most accurate laboratory methods for detecting, tracking and studying the coronavirus.

While many countries have used real time RT-PCR in diagnosing other diseases such as Ebola and the Zika virus, many of them need help in adapting this method for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus and in increasing their testing capacities.

Meanwhile, agencies have agreed to impose granular lockdowns instead of province- or city-wide quarantines to contain the pandemic, Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Jonathan E. Malaya told a televised news briefing.

An inter-agency task force against the coronavirus would soon decide whether to allow the shift to two-week granular lockdowns, he said.

“There is a consensus among the different government agencies that instead of a wide enhanced community quarantine, we will use granular lockdowns instead,” Mr. Malaya said.

The government would ensure that people in affected areas would get state support, he added.

The agency wants to bar people from leaving their homes during granular lockdowns, which could be imposed on a building, street or village.

Local governments will provide aid to residents in the first week of the lockdown, while the Social Welfare will distribute food packs in the second week, Mr. Malaya said.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte placed Manila, the capital and nearby cities under an enhanced community quarantine from Aug. 6 to 20 to contain a fresh spike in infections caused by a more contagious Delta variant.

The lockdown capital region has since been eased to a modified strict quarantine. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.