MANILA, Philippines – The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) on Friday issued an apology for its erroneous report that ACT-CIS party-list Representative Eric Go Yap tested positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“We wish to publicly apologize to Cong. Eric Go Yap of ACT-CIS Partylist for forwarding a report of his COVID-19 results that displayed a clerical oversight,” the RITM said in a statement.
The RITM said Yap remains negative of the virus, and that it was only discovered late Thursday night by its Molecular Biology Laboratory.
The RITM stressed that this is an isolated incident, brought about by an encoding error.
“His results are by no means a false positive. This isolated incident was brought about by an encoding error that was discovered late last night by the Molecular Biology Laboratory (MBL) of the Department of Health-Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (DOH-RITM),” it said.
Yap on Wednesday said he was diagnosed with the viral disease, appealing for understanding after he admitted to having attended several meetings including with top government officials in Malacañang.
The Presidential Security Group earlier said it is eyeing to file charges against Yap for breaking the Palace protocol on COVID-19.
“Again, we profusely and sincerely apologize to Hon. Eric Go Yap for the unnecessary discomfort this incident has caused,” the RITM said.
“The individual responsible for the incident was enlisted as an augmentation staff from outside the regular workforce of the laboratory. The said employee is already being dealt with administratively,” it added.
The RITM also assured the public that its testing process is compliant with the World Health Organization (WHO) protocol, “and that our results remain accurate despite this incident.”
“The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing procedure still stands as the gold standard in detecting the genetic sequence of the SARS-CoV-2—the virus that causes COVID-19,” it said.
The RITM said it has now added another layer of verification for all succeeding reports it will submit to ensure that similar incidents will never happen again.
“For the assurance of the public, we have reviewed all results we have previously forwarded and we affirm that this incident remains isolated,” it said.
“We promise that this, and other associated incidents, will never happen again,” it added.