MANILA, Philippines – Doctors stated Wednesday that employers should not rely on COVID-19 tests as clearance to go back to work. The medical practitioners were pertaining to the realtime polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test and the antibody screening.
In a forum that the Philippine College of Physicians organized, doctors said that it is best to screen employees based on symptoms and their contact. These measures are comparatively more effective compared to using novel coronavirus testing kits.
- Frontliners not the enemy: Filipinos decry Duterte’s contempt for medical community
- Solon calls for probe into LGU quarantine protocol enforcement abuse
According to the Philippine Society of General Internal Medicine, the rapid tests are obsolete forms of screening for the SARS-CoV 2.
“Around the world, only the Philippines is still using rapid tests,” Dr. Antonio Dans stated.
“It’s an antibody test so it does not detect the virus. If it can detect only half of COVID-19 cases, the infection will spread because of those who tested negative but are actually positive for the virus,” he added.
Do not rely on COVID-19 tests, instead screen symptoms
Meanwhile, Dans also mentioned that even though RT-PCR tests are the gold standard, they also do not advise this as clearance for work.
“What if a person tested negative using PCR, he will report for work because he is safe. But what if tomorrow he encounters an infected individual. Will you be testing them everyday?” he said.
He noted that testing every two weeks is very costly. More so, testing every two weeks does not give any guarantee that the individual would not acquire the virus during the window.
Dans explained, “So we suggest symptoms and exposure check. If they have the symptoms or exposure, only then should they be tested. You should do contact tracing, in case they are infected.”