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IATF approves greenlights visit of Chinese virus experts

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The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has allowed a dozen medical experts from China to assist the Philippines in addressing the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said on Saturday.

“The IATF authorizes the technical visit of 12 medical experts from the People’s Republic of China, who will assist government efforts in addressing the Covid-19 situation in the Philippines,” Nograles, spokesperson of IATF-EID, said in a virtual press conference aired on state-run PTV-4.

Nograles said the IATF-EID’s approval was still subject to ratification by the Office of the President.

The Chinese Embassy in Manila announced Thursday that a team of Chinese medical who will help the Philippines in its fight against Covid-19 is set to arrive in Manila on Sunday, April 5.

The team, composed of 12 top Chinese doctors and nurses, has expertise in several fields like critical care medicine, respiratory infection disease control and prevention, and traditional Chinese medicine, the embassy said in a statement.

Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian on Monday said the main task of the medical experts is to provide technical advice on epidemic prevention and share medical treatment experience.

The Philippines has reported 3,018 confirmed Covid-19 cases, including 136 fatalities and 52 recoveries.

To boost the fight against Covid-19, Nograles said the Department of Health (DOH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were directed to draft the necessary guidelines for the utilization of FDA-approved COVID-19 rapid test kits, including lateral flow assay kits.

Nograles added that the DOH and the FDA were also told to rationalize testing protocols and complement the existing capacity of the country to conduct reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction testing.