In a press briefing in Alcala, Cagayan, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that evacuees in typhoon-hit areas would be screened for COVID-19 through antigen test.

“Bago pa po imungkahi iyan ng OCTA Research Group ay ina-assure ko po kayo na in place na po iyong polisiya ng gobyerno na magbigay po ng COVID testing sa mga evacuation centers at ngayon po ang gagamitin nga po natin para mas marami at mas mabilis ay ang antigen test sa lahat ng ating mga evacuation centers,” said Roque.

Acknowledging the need to conduct testing to curb the spread of COVID-19 even if physical distancing is already being implemented in evacuation centers, Roque added: “Minsan po talaga hindi maiwasan dahil halos napakadami po nating mga kababayan na talagang sumilong sa mga evacuation centers.”

The Palace official, however, could not say which areas have already implemented antigen testing.

“Kung hindi po available ang PCR test nandiyan din po ‘yung antigen tests. Hindi ko po masisigurado na lahat sila ay mabibigyan pero magkakaroon po ng testing sa mga evacuation centers lalung-lalo na po doon sa mayroong sintomas,” he added.

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier said that there are no reports yet about COVID-19 outbreaks in evacuation centers.

With regard to testing families who fled due to the typhoons, he said: “It will be a challenge kasi kung i-testing mo lahat ‘yan, are we going to do it one by one? Siguro ang aking suggestion is to watch out for those with symptoms, nilalagnat, mga inuubo para di na lalala.”

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