Not once or twice, but at least thrice!
These were the number of times the Department of Health leadership under Secretary Francisco Duque III wasted precious time in dealing with the COVID-19 threat, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Monday.
In a post on his Twitter account, Lacson said the DOH leadership should have accomplished the basics – contact tracing, massive rapid testing, and early accreditation and stockpiling of COVID-19 related health products – much earlier.
“Contact tracing, massive rapid testing, early accreditation and stockpiling of COVID-19 related health products: these are some of the most basic things that the DOH leadership should have accomplished earlier. So much time wasted,” he said (https://twitter.com/iampinglacson/status/1249461185537142784).
In previous statements, Lacson stressed the need for rapid testing, to help fight the spread of COVID-19. He also pointed out the need for flexibility by the DOH and Food and Drug Administration to accredit test kits.
Lacson also proposed an amendment to the Bayanihan Act to ensure that donation, acceptance and distribution of health products addressing the COVID-19 public health emergency are “not unnecessarily delayed” and that health products for donation duly certified by the regulatory agency or their accredited third party from countries with established regulation shall automatically be cleared, provided this shall not apply to health products which do not require a certification or clearance from the FDA.
On the other hand, Lacson tweeted Sunday that even before the passage of the Bayanihan Act, senators had asked a resource person about the usefulness of massive rapid testing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The FDA representative discouraged it at the time, and senators were disappointed, Lacson recalled (https://twitter.com/iampinglacson/status/1249180206440632321).
Fast forward to April – presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion disclosed the private sector will soon launch massive rapid testing for COVID-19.