TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan, Aug. 7 (PIA) - - The Regional Task Force - Corona Virus Disease 2019 (RTF-COVID 19) in Cagayan Valley is contemplating on the establishment of a testing laboratory in the island province of Batanes.
Civil Defense regional director Dante Balao, Task Force chair, has already urged health officials in Batanes to submit their application to the Department of Health (DOH) to enable their acquisition of funds for the establishment of the COVID-19 testing center.
Balao stressed that Batanes needs the laboratory more than any other province in the region considering its geographical distance to the mainland of Cagayan Valley.
"Accessibility remains to be a challenge in the island province, especially now that commercial flights are irregular yet," Balao said.
He also said if the two laboratories of Cagayan will shut down, it would be more easier to resolve as there are other laboratories in the neighboring regions where specimen may be tested.
"While if the number of specimens to be collected in Batanes surges, it would be very difficult and expensive on the government side as we will be sending the specimen samples on a daily basis via commercial flights or government air assets," Balao stressed.
Batanes remains to be COVID-19-free as of press time but Ignacio Villa, acting Batanes governor, said they have already some persons under monitoring and suspected cases.
"We have five suspected cases. We collected specimen samples from them already and we sent it to a laboratory in Manila for confirmation," Villa said during the Network Briefing program hosted by PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar.
Villa also added that they continue to accept Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) and Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs) in compliance to the Inter-Agency Task Force order. (BME/OTB/PIA-Cagayan)