The Palacio de Maynila swabbing center in Pasay City, one of the four mega swabbing centers, will be operational this week and will prioritize the testing of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are undergoing mandatory quarantine.
“Initially we will test OFWs, and the purpose of these mega swabbing sites is to decongest the quarantine centers in Metro Manila, and then we will be testing other suspected COVID cases,” said National Action Plan Against COVID-19 Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. during the inspection of the swabbing center held Tuesday, May 5.
The national government targets to initially test 25,000 OFWs—both seafarers and land-based—and overseas Filipinos.
“Testing is a cornerstone of the national COVID response,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said. Duque also cited the capability of the swabbing center in ramping up massive testing in the country.
“The facility is really well laid out, well-planned, and well-executed. You can see for yourselves, maganda talaga iyong lugar at malaki,” he added.
The Palacio de Maynila has 65 testing booths, and will be manned by medical staff from the Philippine Coast Guard and the Bureau of Fire Protection.
The national government targets to conduct 5,000 tests per day in all four swabbing centers, and a total of 30,000 test capacity per day by end of May.
The other mega swabbing centers are the Enderun Tent in Taguig City, Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, and the Philippine Sports Stadium in Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
The officials expressed thanks to the private sector namely, the Ayala Group, the Razon Group, and the Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation, for their help in converting the Palacio into a swabbing center.
National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 Deputy Chief Implementer Secretary Vince Dizon also said the government plans to increase the number of COVID-19 testing laboratories to a total of 78 by the end of the month.
“Gusto natin na sa pamamagitan ng 78 laboratories na ito ay tumaas tayo sa 30,000 testing per day by May 30 at gagawin natin ito sa tulong ng private sector,” Dizon said.
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