MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health thumbed down Thursday the molecular testing laboratory set up by the Marikina City government after the facility failed to meet space and biosafety requirements.
The laboratory’s location—sixth floor of the city health office—is the reason why the testing center was not certified, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.
“The DOH suggests the city should use the laboratory of Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center or they should set up a lab in different location,” Duque said in Filipino.
He added the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine—which used to be the country’s lone diagnostic lab for the new coronavirus—will assist the city in establishing a facility that will meet guidelines for biosafety.
Marikina recently set up a COVID-19 testing center and procured 3,000 locally-developed testing kits to conduct a mass testing. But Marikina Mayor Marcelino Teodoro earlier said the laboratory can only open once approved by the DOH.
In virus-hit countries like South Korea and Singapore, widespread testing is crucial in their fight against the pandemic as it allows authorities to isolate and treat infected people.
Just over 2,100 test have been conducted in the Philippines since late January.
One or two locations in mind
In an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel, Teodoro expressed disappointment with the decision of the DOH.
“It is very unfortunate for us because we’re in crisis situation. There’s a public health emergency and testing is very important in order to provide supportive treatment for those infected as well as to immediately contain or isolate a person with coronavirus,” Teodoro said.
But the mayor vowed the city government will still pursue the establishment of a COVID-19 testing center.
“If we’re going to construct a new building, it will not be easy for the city to construct in a short period of time. But if we’re going to look for a building that is not being used by the city, I think it will be on a shorter period,” Teodoro said, adding they have one or two locations in mind where they could relocate the testing center.
Marikina City has 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19—three of whom have been already discharged. There are additional five patients under investigation in the city and 225 persons under monitoring—76 of whom have already finished home quarantine.
The Philippines has so far reported 707 new coronavirus infections with 45 deaths.
Credit belongs to : www.philstar.ca