CEBU CITY, May 26 (PIA) -- More molecular laboratories are set to open in Central Visayas in line with efforts of the National Task Force (NTF) COVID-19 to increase the testing capacity in the region.
NTF COVID-19 Deputy Chief Implementor Sec. Vince Dizon, in a virtual presscon in Cebu City, said the goal for Central Visayas is to conduct 10,000 tests daily.
Currently, there are three accredited laboratories for COVID-19 testing in Central Visayas, namely: Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center-Subnational Laboratory (VSMMC-SNL), Cebu TB Reference Laboratory Molecular Facility for COVID-19 Testing (CTRL-MFCT), and the Allegiant Regional Care Hospital (ARC) in Lapu-Lapu City.
CTRL-MFCT and the VSMMC-SNL laboratories will each have an automated extraction machine which shall increase their capacity to 2,000 tests daily.
Additionally, two more laboratories with each having 2,000 testing capacity are set to open in Cebu, of which one will be located at the Mactan Cebu International Airport and the other at Cebu Doctor's Hospital in Cebu City.
Sen. Dick Gordon has also promised that the Philippine National Red Cross will be setting up another laboratory with a 4,000 testing capacity.
Dizon emphasized that the key to preventing another wave of the virus and to slowly rebuild the economy is to bolster polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing capacity.
"We are here to help Cebu. We are here to make sure that Cebu is ready by providing more capacity for testing, by assisting with the supplies that are needed to test quickly. We are here to help prepare for the eventual re-opening of the economy of Cebu," said Dizon.
According to Sec. Carlito Galvez, Jr., NTF COVID-19 Chief Implementor, the second wave of COVID-19 cases could occur due to complacency especially if the travel and tourism industries open without any preparation.
He added, however, that protocols are being set in place to prevent the occurrence of the second wave while one-stop-shop testing centers at the airports and ports will also be set up.
Galvez also noted that the country is winning the fight against COVID-19 as he cited the increasing recovery rate while the number of deaths now ranges from a low of four to 11 since May 16.
Galvez and Dizon visited Bohol and Cebu on May 23, 2020 to check on the COVID-19 situation in the two provinces. (poc/PIA7)