“The number of infections keep increasing because we do not have mass testing.”

This according to Quezon City 5th District Councilor Karl Castelo who, on Easter Sunday, lamented the fact that “more than a year after the first lockdown was imposed, we are in a much worse situation than ever before.”

“Ang problema kasi sa atin, nagpapa-test lang tayo kapag may symptoms na, o kung na-expose sa isang positive. Kumbaga, hinihintay natin na tamaan na muna tayo ng virus imbes na kusang hahanapin natin kung saan man sila nagtatago sa mga asymptomatic carriers,” complained Castelo, who is on his third and last term as Councilor.

“If the immune system of the individual is strong enough, swerte. If the immune system is weak, or if there are comorbidities, malas. We should not gamble with the lives of our people and their families. We should immediately conduct community level, house-to-house, mass testing,” added Castelo.

“We should immediately conduct community level, house-to-house, mass testing.”

Last Good Friday, the Philippines set a new record for the largest single-day increase in new cases at 15,310. Even if we remove the backlog of 3,790, the 11,601 would still be a new record in terms of daily increase.

“A whopping majority of those who get tested have symptoms.”

“96.3% of the fifteen thousand plus patients exhibited mild symptoms, while 2.4% were asymptomatic. Less than 1% have severe symptoms, while less than 1% were in critical condition. Very clearly, a whopping majority of those who get tested have symptoms, no matter how mild. They all show external signs that can immediately be observed,” commented Castelo regarding the Good Friday figures released by the Department of Health (DOH).

“This is where the problem lies. To be sure, there are thousands or even more asymptomatic carriers spreading the virus in their homes, communities, offices and everywhere else. This is where another problem pops. The country is only conducting over 30,000 tests per day when experts have recommended 100,000. With our current positivity rate of 20% or even more, then maybe the figures could rise to an actual number of 25,000 new cases per day, but we just do not know. This is a catastrophe, and requires urgent action,” declared Castelo.

President Rodrigo Duterte has recently extended the imposition of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in NCR Plus (Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal). Duterte has also announced the distribution of assistance for poor individuals and low-income earners.

“Nagpapasalamat po tayo sa ayuda na handog ng Pangulo. Isang libo para sa isang linggo na naging dalawang linggo. Pero ang panawagan po natin sa Pangulo ay mass testing. We have to find the virus wherever it may be found, then immediately isolate those who turn out to be positive. We should not wait for any symptoms because for some, that may be too late,” appealed Castelo.

“We should not wait for any symptoms because for some, that may be too late.”

“I urge the government to rethink other expenditures that can wait a while so we can reallocate funds for mass testing. The lives of our kababayans are more important than the construction or renovation of any airport or seaport or whatever infrastructure project. Baka naman pwede buhay muna bago kalye,” concluded Castelo.


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