As the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) ramps up its coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing capability by putting up more molecular laboratories across the country, its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Senator Dick Gordon urged local government units (LGU) to have their constituents tested for the virus.

As Gordon pointed out, it is critical to know who are the carriers of COVID-19 to easily isolate them from non-carriers and have the sick treated immediately. The veteran legislator added that testing is a vital way of containing the virus.

“Testing the people is a vital way of containing the virus.”

“The number of cases in our country are increasing every day and it is alarming since there is no available vaccine for COVID yet. What we can do now is to set a clear policy on containing the virus. We should conduct a massive testing especially in Metro Manila since the epicenter is here. So, I urge our mayors and other officials of local government units to have their constituents tested,” the seasoned lawmaker said.

“We have not tested enough but we have the capacity.”

The senator emphasized that a very small percentage of the country’s population are tested. As of June 30, only 0.57% are tested, which is far from the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO) to test at least 13% of the populace which is 14.2 million Filipinos.

“As I have said, we have not tested enough but we have the capacity. Red Cross now has five molecular laboratories that are up and running, and which are capable of processing 28,000 specimen samples a day. We are expanding our capacity as we are now starting to establish testing centers in Northern and Southern Luzon, and as far as Visayas and Mindanao,” he stressed.

The PRC signed a Memorandum of Agreement with various LGUs in Metro Manila during the inauguration of its first molecular laboratory located at its headquarters in Mandaluyong City on April 21.

So far, the cities in Metro Manila that partnered with Red Cross for COVID-19 testing are Caloocan, Quezon City, Mandaluyong, Makati, Parañaque, San Juan, Navotas, Pasay and Las Piñas.

Outside the National Capital Region (NCR), among the provinces that teamed up with the PRC are Pampanga, Tarlac, Bulacan, Bataan, Zambales and Mindoro Occidental, to name some.

Since June 30, the PRC has tested 167,879 or 24% of the total tests conducted in the country.

“This is the Red Cross’ way of helping our country flatten the curve as we believe that testing is really the key to contain and eliminate COVID,” said Gordon.


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