Maggie Wilson laments lack of free COVID-19 antigen tests in PH: ‘It’s disgraceful’
Maggie Wilson expressed her disappointment over the lack of free COVID-19 antigen tests in the Philippines, as well as the “doubled” prices of the tests amid a new surge of COVID-19 cases.
The Binibining Pilipinas World 2007 titleholder told fans about her disappointment while narrating her attempt to buy test kits on her Instagram Story yesterday, Jan. 10. She was buying the kits for a friend.
“So, I inquired about buying a box of antigen test kits for a friend who’s based in the U.K. for her family, here in the [Philippines]. The prices of a box of [20 to 25] kits have now doubled,” she said. “It’s disgraceful how the people who are selling them are taking advantage of the situation and upping the prices due to demand. Greed!”
Wilson believes it was “shameful” that COVID-19 test kits in the Philippines can go as high as P10,000 per box. She added it was “disgraceful” for the Philippine government not to offer such tests for free while comparing the situation to that in the UK.
“It’s even more disgraceful that our government doesn’t offer them for free,” she lamented. “In the U.K., anyone can walk in to a pharmacy and ask for a box of [lateral flow] test kit for free. Each kit even has a QR code where you can scan and register your results on the National Health Service website.”
Various groups and individuals have called on the national government to provide free antigen tests and conduct massive contact tracing amid the spike in local COVID-19 infections. The Department of Health recorded a total of 33,169 confirmed new infections yesterday, an all-time high for the country.
House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said the national budget for 2022 was “not designed to save lives” as it overlooked funds allotted for free mass testing, while it gave priority to funding the procurement of arms and military equipment.
Meanwhile, Vice President Leni Robredo reiterated her call for centralized contact tracing and free testing. She noted that such matters should not be an issue anymore to Filipinos as the country has been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic for almost two years already. /ra
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