Mass testing for coronavirus to start in Subic in May | Inquirer News

Mass testing for coronavirus to start in Subic in May

swab booths

The swab booths will be installed at the gates of the Subic Bay Freeport once mass testing commences in May. Contributed Photo

SAN ANTONIO, ZAMBALES — The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) could start mass testing for coronavirus infections in May, in collaboration with the Philippine National Red Cross.

The Red Cross is putting up a lab at the Naval Magazine zone of the Subic Bay Freeport, and expects to receive testing equipment on Wednesday (April 29), as well as accreditation from the Department of Health, said SBMA chair Wilma Eisma in a Monday (April 27) statement.


SBMA will put up two swabbing booths at the main gate.


Samples would be sent to the Red Cross logistics and training center for testing, said Eisma, who is also SBMA administrator.

Eisma said tests would be open to the public, although people classified as suspects or probable cases will take priority.

Subic Bay frontline workers, SBMA employees and Freeport residents would be given priority but Eisma said the SBMA would also “reach out” to its neighbors—Olongapo City, Zambales and Bataan provinces—“so that their constituents can benefit from the program.”

Aside from establishing specimen collection booths, a polymerase chain reaction (PRC) molecular lab is being built to house testing equipment that includes an automated RNA extraction machine that can run 90 samples per hour, as well as two PCR machines that can complete 2,000 tests a day.

Eisma said mass testing would provide “a good reading of the prevalence of the outbreak with the end-view of safely lifting the ECQ in order to get Subic businesses running again.”

Edited by TSB
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TAGS: Coronavirus, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, Health, Quarantine, Red Cross, samples, swab, tests

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