Trump promises to double New York state COVID-19 testing, Philippine Consulate says to expect a “new normal”

NEW YORK — New York governor Andrew Cuomo went all the way to the White House with one mission in mind: to get much-needed assistance from the federal government.

In a press briefing, Cuomo described the Oval Office meeting with President Donald Trump as “productive and positive.”

“We got a lot done. I’ve been talking for a number of days, as have most governors, about testing as the next phase that we have to enter into. We’re starting to talk about reopening and planning re-opening.”

He said the president promised to work with the state of New York in doubling the daily COVID-19 testings from 20,000 to 40,000 a day, which includes both diagnostic and antibody tests.

“The federal government will work on the supply of tests and reagents from the national manufacturers. They’ll take that half of the equation, we will take half of the equation that is working with the labs in the state and getting them to perform the tests.”

The president, Cuomo said, is also looking into providing additional state funding for New York – as the state will be practically broke by the end of this pandemic.

All of this is in preparation for the future reopening of New York, when certain conditions are met — like 14 days of continuous decline in infections, contact tracing for all those who were infected, and increased testing for the whole population.

Meanwhile, in a Zoom virtual webinar on the situation of COVID-19 in the Filipino community, Dr. Francisco Sy said cities and states with stay-at-home orders can only re-open when more data is available through increased testings.

“Monitor and see the situation and also employers should make sure their testing would be available otherwise you’d be mixing people who are infected and not infected, that disease will increase again. It should be gradual… and NY and NJ are in the epicenter, probably they should not open suddenly.”

Philippine consul general Claro Cristobal said when that time comes, we can expect a new normal.

“It will be a different work setting, different operational procedure, different ways of serving our people.”

Cristobal said there will be major changes in how their clients receive consular services at the Philippine consulate in New York, such as every single transaction will now be done by appointment only.

“We are ready to launch, what is called the cue-less appointment and queueing system for the clientele of the consulate general, this is a system that will enable you to be in the consulate only at the very time you are expected here, so you do not expose yourself too much.”

However, Cristobal said, all previously scheduled public and community events at the consulate are canceled until further notice or until the state deems it safe for people to hold public gatherings.

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