Isko: Manila’s drive-thru testing shows public willing to be tested if it’s free
MANILA, Philippines — If there is anything that Manila’s drive-thru testing facility showed, it is that the public would willingly submit themselves to health protocols and COVID-19 testing if it is accessible and free.
Mayor Isko Moreno said this during his briefing on Thursday, after vehicles with passengers wanting to be tested swarmed their drive-thru tests near the Kartilya ng Katipunan monument in Lawton, Manila.
As the drive-thru testing was offered to residents and non-residents of Manila, free of charge, this led to heavy traffic in the area. Still, Moreno said that this is a “good problem” as testing possible COVID-19 patients is more important that traffic woes.
“Nagtraffic po talaga, pero ako iba po ang perspective ko. That is a sign of a good problem, why? Totoo pala na ang tao, gusto niyang magpatest but the problem is wala siyang access,” he explained.
(It really caused heavy traffic, but I have a different perspective. That is a sign of a good problem, because we have confirmed that people would want to have themselves tested but they do not have access to such.)
“Second problem is economic, walang pera eh, hindi kumita eh. Oh ngayon nagkaroon ng libre, dumagsa,” he added.
(Second problem is economic, they do not have any money due to lack of income. Now that there is free testing, they swarmed the area.)
This initiative which started on Wednesday, has already drawn over 700 recipients. It is also the second of its kind, after Taguig launched its own drive-thru testing facility last April.
In the Philippines, which has recently breached the 60,000 cases mark, testing remains low compared to the population. Despite calls for mass testing from various sectors since Metro Manila and Luzon were placed on a lockdown, the country has not yet made one million tests as of Thursday.
According to Department of Health data, the country has done 984,313 individual tests from 63 licensed RT-PCR laboratories.
But Malacañang has insisted that it would not do mass testing, and would adopt an expanded targeted testing as it is more feasible.
As a result, Moreno said that they are looking to open more drive-thru facilities — including one in the Quirino Grandstand to alleviate heavy traffic and test more individuals.
Earlier, he said that 31 of the first 235 recipients of the drive-thru tests were found to have contracted COVID-19 — which Moreno says reflects the city government’s reminder to take health protocols seriously, as some positive patients may appear healthy and asymptomatic.
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