Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire (screen grab from Radio-TV Malacañang)

UPDATE, 29 March 2020: TWIN APOLOGIES: DOH sorry for ‘confusion’ over Chinese test kits; P500 allowance for volunteers

The health department has set aside some Covid-19 test kits from China because of their low accuracy rate.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Saturday an initial batch of Chinese test kits only had a 40 percent accuracy rate, compared with test kits from the World Health Organization during parallel testing.

“Sa mga naunang pinadala sa amin na test kits from China, na nakapagpakita ng 40-percent accuracy, hindi po namin ito ginamit dahil nakita nga po na mababa po ang accuracy natin dito. Kaya ito na lang po ay ating itinago,” Vergeire said.

(As for the initial batch of test kits sent to us from China, which showed 40-percent accuracy, we did not use them because we saw that they had low accuracy. We set them aside.)

Spain withdrew 58,000 Chinese-made test kits this week, which authorities said had a detection rate of just 30 percent.

The Philippines is lagging in Covid-19 testing and critics are demanding that tests be ramped up in the middle of a month-long quarantine.

The number of Covid-19 cases grew to 1,075 on Saturday, with 68 deaths. Thirty-five patients have recovered.

Vergeire said the Philippines was able to do up to 1,000 tests a day. (