Anti-coronavirus measures in the southern tip of the country just got a big boost as the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) unveiled its first COVID-19 testing laboratory in Zamboanga City.
Located at the locality of Pettitt Barracks, the said facility boasts of state-of-the-art equipment for testing such as two polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines, one ribonucleic acid (RNA) extractor, two biosafety cabinets, and three biomedical freezers and has the capacity to conduct 2,000 tests per day.
PRC chairman and Senator Richard Gordon noted the laboratory will not just process specimen samples from Zamboanga City but also those Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, the Zamboanga Peninsula, Dapitan, Dipolog, and Pagadian.
“It is our responsibility to get ourselves tested for COVID-19. You can literally kill others if you are a carrier of the virus. Getting yourself tested and taking care of yourself is tantamount to taking care of your loved ones and others in your community,” Gordon stated.
“We cannot beat this invisible enemy unless we unmask it and we can only do that by testing our people. Through this, we will now have our own defense against COVID-19.” We thank all the tireless staff and volunteers led by our Chapter Administrator Joseline Fernandez and the ICRC for making this happen. I am truly proud of you all,” he added.
Meanwhile, PRC-Zamboanga chapter administrator Joseline Fernandez told the Daily Tribune in a phone interview that they are still awaiting the approval of the memorandum of agreement sent to local government units, private institutions, and hospitals.
“The laboratory is a big help in increasing the testing capacity not only here in Zamboanga City but also neighboring cities and provinces in region 9 and BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao),” said Fernandez, pointing to the spike in people testing positive for the viral respiratory disease in the city.
Apart from helping in the government’s fight against the contagion, PRC-Zamboanga had also been providing aid to repatriated Filipinos who were stranded in Sabah, Malaysia by distributing hot meals, hygiene kits, and the provision of psychosocial support.