By Mario Casayuran
Testing is the key.
Senator Richard J. Gordon, chairman of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), stressed this Saturday as the rate of coronavirus disease (COVID- 19) infection has not shown a downward trend.
“The whole testing in the Philippines right now is at 0.4 percent and that is very far from the 13-percentage standard of the World Health Organization (WHO). We have not tested enough but we have the capacity. We have to move our economy and so we have to move testing,” he said.
Gordon issued the statement as the PRC formally opened Saturday the biggest molecular laboratory in the country as a COVID-19 testing center at the PRC’s former headquarters in Port Area, Manila.
He said the opening of the Red Cross’ molecular laboratory in Manila would be a great help in containing COVID-19 in the country as more testing could be conducted.
“Our molecular laboratory in Manila is equipped with seven (7) RNAs with 14 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines that are capable of testing 14,000 samples per day. This will really help us ramp up our testing capacity so that more people will get tested all over the country. With more testing capacity, we can easily identify those who are positive and segregate them from those who were tested negative,” said Gordon.
Gordon, chairman of the Senate justice and human rights committee, has been consistently pushing for a massive testing so that those who are tested negative could go back to work, especially those who lost their jobs during the pandemic, to help revive the country’s economy.
The PRC’s molecular laboratory in Manila, where the PRC’s Hemodialysis Center is also located, received its accreditation from the Department of Health (DOH) as a certified COVID-19 testing center on May 15.
It has so far tested over 18,000 samples out of the 149,116 specimen samples that the PRC has processed.
Aside from Manila, other testing centers of PRC are located in Mandaluyong City, Pampanga, and Zambales.
Twenty-six percent of the total tests conducted so far in the country has been done by the PRC.