By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

The Philippines Department of Health (DOH) are now reporting 307 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Saturday, including 19 deaths.

Quezon City (14.3%), San Juan City (8.8%) and Pasig City and Makati City, each accounting for 6.2% of cases, are the cities reporting the most cases nationally.

In addition, DOH announced the acquisition of more test kits and labs able to perform testing.

In addition to the current 1,300 available kits and recently delivered kits (2,050) from China and South Korea, DOH is anticipating additional 120,500 units from different countries, such as China, Korea, and Brunei.

DOH also announced that five (5) sub-national laboratories are now operating alongside the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine. These are San Lazaro Hospital, and Baguio General Hospital & Medical Center for Luzon, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center for Visayas, and Southern Philippines Medical Center for Mindanao. These laboratories are able to process between 50-300 tests daily.

Two additional laboratories are being set-up. Western Visayas Medical Center and Bicol Public Health Laboratory will undergo proficiency testing for one week before it can begin testing.

The University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health as an extension lab has also been mobilized and is currently testing overflow samples from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

“We must underscore the importance of laboratory certification due to the hazards of handling a live virus. The Department is exercising utmost care in certifying more sub-national laboratories and ensuring that biosafety measures are in place,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III emphasized.

Further, the DOH will be assisted by World Health Organization and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, to assess five (5) more molecular biology laboratories in private tertiary hospitals as possible extension labs starting March 21. These are St. Lukes Medical Center – Global City, Makati Medical Center, The Medical City, St. Lukes Medical Center – Quezon City, and Chinese General Hospital. More laboratories will be assessed across all regions after this first round is completed.