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Pasay City mega swabbing center opens; can conduct 1,000 COVID-19 tests daily


By Martin Sadongdong

The country’s third mega swabbing facility opened on Friday at the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City to prioritize the mass testing for coronavirus disease (COVID-19), especially for an estimated 25,000 repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).



Vince Dizon, deputy chief implementer of National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19, said the facility has 72 testing booths and can conduct 1,000 tests per day.

“It will be manned by various nurses, med techs (medical technologists), nursing assistants, encoders and other assistants to make the operations of swabbing our kababayans very efficient,” he said in an interview over ANC.

Dizon said the testing of the OFWs, who are now housed in quarantine facilities, is deemed important to decongest the isolation centers in the Metro Manila area.

“We need to swab them because we need to establish whether or not they are positive or negative for COVID-19 while they are undergoing quarantine,” he said.

The specimens will then be brought for analysis at the laboratory of the Philippine Red Cross in Mandaluyong City.

Those found COVID-19 positive would have to remain under quarantine, Dizon said.

Those who tested COVID-19 negative will be given a health certificate attesting that they are free from COVID-19 and they can go home to their places of residence for home quarantine.

After finishing the mass testing of OFWs, Dizon said the national government will team up with the local government units (LGUs) so that the suspects and probables in the communities will also be tested.

“This is part of the ramp up of testing by the national government in order for us to more effectively control the spread of the virus throughout our communities,” he said.

Dizon thanked the SM Group for providing the facility as a mega swabbing center to be used by the national government in its COVID-19 response.

Earlier this week, two other mega swabbing facilities were opened by the government in collaboration with the private sector and local governments: one at the Palacio de Maynila in Manila and another at the Enderun Colleges in Taguig City.

The fourth mega swabbing center at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan is seen to open within the week.

In a separate Laging Handa briefing, Dizon said the swabbing center at the Palacio de Maynila started its operations on Thursday with an initial 250 OFWs tested for COVID-19.

“We are still adjusting the system so that we can speed up the swabbing process. In the coming days, we will go full speed ahead,” he said.

Once all the four mega swabbing centers are operational, Dizon said these can collectively conduct 5,000 tests per day which is expected to help the government achieve its target of 30,000 tests daily by May 30.

“Hindi tayo titigil sa pag-prepare at paglaban sa virus na ito hanggang sa panahon na makakuha tayo ng vaccine at hindi ito magngyayari sa loob ng isang taon. Baka maghintay pa tayo ng mula 18 months hanggang dalawang taon (We will not stop preparing for and fighting against this virus until such time that we have a vaccine and it will not happen in a year. We might wait for 18 months to two years),” he said.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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