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Gwen has no plans yet to be tested of COVID-19

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - CDN Digital Reporter | March 20,2020 - 09:47 PM

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia | CDN Digital file photo

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia | CDN Digital file photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said she has no plans yet to get herself tested to see if she’s infected with the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

At a press conference on Friday, March 20, 2020, Garcia said COVID-19 tests should be prioritized to those who have a severe respiratory infection, and are admitted in hospitals.

“Dili lang sa ko (magpa-test). Unaha lang sa ang uban, labi na tong mga naay symptoms or symptomatic,” said Garcia.

(I don’t have plans yet to get tested. Those who are showing symptoms or symptomatic should be the first ones to get tested.)

Garcia’s statement came a few hours before 20,000 testing kits procured by the Office of the Presidential Assistant to the Visayas (OPAV) arrived in Cebu.

OPAV chief, Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino, earlier pledged to provide 30,000 testing kits in Cebu and 20,000 more to other local government units in the Visayas.

Test kits are primarily used to detect COVID-19 infection in an individual.

In the Visayas area, scientists identified Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) as one of the country’s qualified laboratory centers to do COVID-19 testing.

The Philippines has not yet started mass testing of the disease which has affected over 246,000 individuals worldwide, and claimed the lives of 10,038.

China, Korea

On the other hand, Garcia thanked the Consulate -General of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in Cebu for extending their assistance to Cebu province amid threats of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Garcia said PRC’s Consul-General in Cebu Jia Li expressed willingness to help the Capitol to address concerns brought about by COVID-19.

Garcia also said she told Li during their meeting that Cebu needed testing kits.

“When we talked with the Consul General from China, I told him we need testing kits. Then he said, they (Chinese government) will be able to send some directly to Cebu,” said Garcia.

“From our part in Cebu, we coordinated with the district collector (of the Bureau of Customs) to help in the delivery of the testing kits,” she added.

Garcia also disclosed to reporters that the provincial government met with the Consulate General of South Korea in Cebu, and asked if the latter can help provide testing kits.

However, the governor expressed her dismay when after their meeting concluded, she was only provided with a list of suppliers based in South Korea.

“We really need those testing kits. But we were only furnished with a list of the suppliers from their country,” Garcia said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

“There are a lot of Koreans here in Cebu setting up shops and doing business… And I’m getting the impression when they just handed me a list of suppliers, this (test kit) is still business for them,” she added in Cebuano.

Pledges from OPAV

On the other hand, Garcia said the Capitol is rethinking its plans to purchase more test kits after pledges from OPAV have arrived.

“I think it’s no longer wise. We cannot follow South Korea as an example. We don’t have that kind of elevated and well-funded health system that would require advanced laboratories for testing,” said Garcia.

She also concurred on the decision of the health officials to prioritize testing individuals suspected of having COVID-19, and are admitted in hospitals.

“What DOH (Department of Health) said is rational. Those who should be tested are those symptomatic. Not asymptomatic otherwise, we’re just wasting these kits,” Garcia said. /RCG

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TAGS: Cebu governor Gwendolyn Garcia, COVID-19, OPAV, symptomatic, VSMMC

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