To have another layer of protection amid the spike in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is pushing for making COVID-19 self-test kits available in drugstores.
DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said it is time to adjust the protocol by encouraging the use of COVID-19 self-test kits to prevent transmission.
“An antigen test can detect if one is infectious or not for that day, and (that) can be preventive.”
“Because if one is not feeling anything, or asymptomatic, one would not have done anyway an RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) for that day. But an antigen test can detect if one is infectious or not for that day, and (that) can be preventive. This should be part of a new normal protocol,” Lopez explained.
The trade chief added that this recommendation has been submitted to the Technical Working Group of Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases last December 31.
DTI has been pushing for this recommendation since October last year.
“This is better than no test at all for asymptomatic. (It is) another layer of protection,” the trade head said.
He said that Food and Drug Administration-approved antigen self-test kits should be made available in drugstores so that people can voluntarily screen themselves for COVID-19 at the comfort of their homes.
“In these increasing cases, presumably of Omicron, it is important to have another layer of protection.”
Lopez added that the RT-PCR test should still be done for symptomatic individuals.
“In these increasing cases, presumably of Omicron, it is important to have another layer of protection,” he said. “Again, this is on top of the required vaccination, and RT-PCR (is) still needed for asymptomatic.”
The city government of Baguio earlier said it will pilot the at-home COVID-19 test kits in the country to speed up the detection and management of COVID-19 cases in the city.
At-home rapid test kits for COVID-19 screening are widely used in the United States, Canada, Europe, Singapore, and Hong Kong to manage the transmission of the virus.
Following the gatherings during Christmas and New Year holidays, a number of COVID-19 cases in the country significantly jumped, making the Philippines again as a “high risk” country for COVID-19.
Aside from the holidays, the more transmissible Omicron variant was detected last December 15.