Philippine Red Cross stoppage halved reported coronavirus cases in Metro Manila and its nearby provinces, according to OCTA research group.
Philippine Red Cross (PRC) stoppage of its COVID-19 swab testing operations halved reported coronavirus cases in Metro Manila and its nearby provinces, according to OCTA research group.
This, as the group of experts monitoring the spread of coronavirus disease in the Philippines encouraged the national government to resolve the impasse between the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) and the Philippine Red Cross (PRC).
The OCTA research group said in its monitoring report dated October 26, 2020, that the Philippine Red Cross stoppage of its COVID-19 swab testing operations resulted in the reduction of reported coronavirus cases in Metro Manila, Laguna, Cavite, and Batangas by 40 to 50 percent.
According to experts, the country’s quarantine, isolation, and contact tracing programs were crippled without the testing facilities provided by the Philippine Red Cross because the local government units didn’t know whether or not a person was infected with coronavirus disease within the 24-48 hour time period required.
OCTA said that the reproduction number in Metro Manila was currently at Rt = 0.63, based on actual data published by the Department of Health (DOH).
“We estimate that with the missing PRC data, the actual reproduction number in NCR is Rt = 0.72. If PRC tests results are included, the average daily new cases in NCR from October 11 will increase by 200 to 300 (estimated)“, OCTA said.
OCTA research group’s monitoring report came after the Philippine Red Cross announced last October 14 that it would stop COVID-19 swab tests chargeable to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. because of its inability to settle its “ever-increasing outstanding balance.”
The Philippine Red Cross said in a statement that the cessation of PhilHealth-funded COVID-19 swab testing would remain until PhilHealth paid its overdue balance of PHP 930,993,000.
Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte said that the government would pay PhilHealth’s COVID-19 swab testing debt to the Philippine Red Cross, but said that it would take time.
After receiving a Department of Justice (DOJ) opinion on having to pay the Philippine Red Cross, the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. on Friday said that it would start paying the Philippine Red Cross on October 26, 2020.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that the government would already pay half of the PHP 930-million debt and that the Philippine Red Cross should resume its COVID-19 swab tests chargeable to PhilHealth.