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‘NO MORE FURTHER PCR TESTS’
By: Eleanor Valeros | Published Sunday, May 31, 2020
Taking cue from Singapore, Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia announces that Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) or swab tests are no longer needed as criteria for releasing Covid-19 patients. (Junjie Mendoza)

The Cebu Provincial Government will adopt the Singapore mindset on abandoning Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests as criteria for releasing Covid-19 patients.

This is the position Governor Gwendolyn Garcia takes which she expressed before mayors in an emergency meeting last May 30 on the transition of Cebu Province from General Community Quarantine to Modified General Community Quarantine by June 12.

The Governor takes cue from a decision of Singapore to stop using PCR test as a criterion for releasing Covid-19 patients and will now adopt a time-based discharge policy, allowing such patients to go home after just 21 days of isolation.

“Testing, testing, testing is illogical,” she accentuated.

According to Kyodo News on May 29, Singapore’s Health Ministry, in a statement, said that with immediate effect, all Covid-19 patients who are assessed to be clinically well by Day 21 of onset of illness can be discharged without the need for further PCR tests.

This decision is based on new scientific evidence that the virus fades away after the second week from the onset of illness “despite the persistence of polymerase chain reaction detection of ribonucleic acid.”

The report mentioned that the World Health Organization has also recommended the adoption of a time-based discharge criterion.

“We will adopt the Singapore method. Dili na kinahanglan nga mag-inatang ta kanus-a ma-negative ang nag-positive usa ma-release,” Garcia said.

To which businessman Bunny Pages said that rapid testing shouldn’t be made a requirement for employees to report back to work.

The mayors agreed that by June 3 returning workers will be asked only of their Certificate of Employment and valid company identification card to pass through the checkpoints. Under GCQ yet, the checkpoints are still activated.

“Please make it easy for us to open our businesses. Make us feel that you are most supportive of us at this point in our lives,” Pages asked the mayors.

“And I’m glad that rapid test is now eliminated because can you imagine if you require that. That’s P1,200 per person and if you have a hundred people, that will cost us P1.2 million. We have not had business, no revenue in the last two months,” he emphasized.

Further, Garcia reiterated that people should continue boosting up their immune system through home remedies to gather enough power to withstand Covid-19 as much as withstanding tuberculosis and all other ailments.

“We should shake off from our zombie-ness. We should now reboot, reset and change our mindset from where we started, given the data, it behooves upon us to reach a more informed and wise decision because this is already affecting lives and livelihoods,” the governor told the mayors.

“It is time for us to go back to our real jobs, not as chiefs of police or sentries or coast guards but our real jobs as chief executives that must set the direction of each of our LGUs aspiring for better lives of our constituents. We cannot do this if we continue to cower in fear and impose such difficult restrictions,” she added. (Eleanor Valeros)