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Singapore donates 40,000 more coronavirus test kits to PH

MANILA, Philippines – Singapore has donated another 40,000 tests kits to the Philippines to aid health officials in combating the novel coronavirus outbreak in the country. 

The Singapore embassy in Manila announced the arrival of the additional test kits, which were handed over by Singapore Ambassador to the Philippines Gerard Ho to Chief of Presidential Protocol and Presidential Assistant for Foreign Affairs Robert Borje at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.  

The test kits arrived a week after Singapore earlier donated 3,000 tests kits and one PCR machine, which is needed to process the kits and look for the virus’ genetic material. 

Along with the 40,000 test kits, Singapore also donated two ventilators from the Temasek Foundation to the Philippines. 

“These additional test kits will supplement Singapore’s earlier donation to allow more people to have an early diagnosis, while the ventilators will be crucial for the survival of severe COVID-19 cases,” the Singapore embassy said in a statement on Saturday, March 28.

It also said, “Singapore will continue to work on ways in which we can contribute to the Philippines’ effort to contain and defeat COVID-19. In the meantime, practice social distancing, good hygiene habits, and stay safe!”

Why this matters. As more labs are equipped to undergo full-scale processing of coronavirus test kits, an accurate and steady supply of kits is crucial to health officials’ efforts to ramp up the screening of suspected coronavirus cases. 

The Philippines’ limited testing capacity had resulted in only over 2,000 people being tested for the disease since the first case was found in the country in January. 

Limited test kits have likewise led to protocols where only persons under investigation showing severe symptoms of the coronavirus disease, or high-risk and immunocompromised individuals showing mild to severe symptoms of the disease have been prioritized for testing. 

The test kits from Singapore, another country hailed for its handling of the disease, add to test kits earlier given by China and South Korea.

The Philippines has so far counted 1,075 coronavirus cases as of Saturday night, including 68 deaths and 35 recoveries. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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