February 1, 2023

Media workers may be tested for the Covid-19 every three months, a health official said.
Citing the new guidelines on expanded Covid-19 testing, Department of Health Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said “mass media is included in subgroup J or economic priority workers in high priority sectors with high interaction and exposure to the public and are living or working in special concern areas.”
“You may be tested every three months. Even before the expansion of our testing guidelines, media practitioners and any symptomatic individual are included in subgroups A, B, and C and those who are asymptomatic but have exposure history in subgroup D,” Vergeire said.
Testing costs for the subgroups will be covered by PhilHealth.
According to the new guidelines on expanded Covid-19 testing, Filipinos who do not belong to any of the subgroups may undergo RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) test at their own cost.
“We also clarify that the new guidelines state that rapid point of care antibody-based test kits cannot be used to rule out Covid-19. These tests must still be used with RT-PCR,” Vergeire said.
There are currently two tests for the Covid-19 virus – the RT-PCR swab test and antibody blood test. The antibody blood test identifies antibodies produced by the immune system, while the RT-PCR detects the presence of virus and measures viral load.
As for the test results, RT-PCR has longer waiting time, while the rapid antibody test yields faster test results. A positive rapid test result may require a confirmatory PCR-based test afterward.  – PNA release