QC to open virus testing lab
MANILA, Philippines — After Manila and Marikina, the next local government in Metro Manila to open its own molecular laboratory for coronavirus testing would be the Quezon City government.
In a statement, the city government said the three-story laboratory, set to start operating by the end of the month in Barangay Teachers Village, would be able to process 500 tests daily with a turnaround time of one to two days. Once accredited by the Department of Health, the facility would also be able to process other medical tests such as those for tuberculosis, the human immunodeficiency virus and dengue, according to Mayor Joy Belmonte.
About 20 members of the city health department—including medical technologists, pathologists and lab managers—would be undergoing training at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine due to the highly technical requirements.
Equipment, extraction machines and other needed facilities were procured by the city through donations from the private sector, the city government said. The laboratory would also have data encoding areas and sleeping quarters for workers assigned at the facility.
Meanwhile, the city government dispelled reports it would be placing 25 barangays under a “special concern lockdown,” saying that officials were still studying the situation in the affected areas. “If [new coronavirus disease] COVID-19 cases are rapidly increasing in a certain area, especially those that are crowded and have narrow streets, then we will declare a special concern lockdown. It is important that we consider the recommendations of the city health department or the city epidemiology and surveillance unit,” it said.
It added that for now, it saw no reason to place on lockdown Tandang Sora, Commonwealth, Holy Spirit, Novaliches Proper, Pasong Tamo, Crame, Payatas, Socorro, Matandang Balara, Pinyahan and San Roque, among other barangays.
The city government issued the clarification after Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, who had been assigned to oversee Quezon City’s COVID-19 response, made the recommendation.It said that the national government’s move to assign Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) officials to local government units was aimed at speeding up COVID-19 response, but not to intervene in governance.“Quezon City residents can trust the local government when we say that we have the situation under control,” it stressed.
At the same time, Belmonte assured residents that they were thoroughly studying the situation and closely coordinating with Nograles and the IATF.
Listed as the 16th city in the country with the most number of coronavirus cases per million residents, Quezon City had 8,589 confirmed cases, 2,080 of which are active, as of Aug. 15.
The city government, however, clarified that since Quezon City had the biggest population in the country, this would result in more confirmed cases compared to other areas.
According to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, Quezon City had a population of around 2.9 million in 2015.
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