Mayor Isko Moreno today reported that 667 people have received positive coronavirus results in Manila’s drive-thru testing facilities, out of the 4,000 who got tested.
Manila has opened free drive-thru COVID-19 tests at the Quirino Grandstand earlier this month. The tests are for everyone, even to non-Manila residents. City Hall has also opened what it calls “walk-in” testing sites located near the Sampaloc Hospital and the Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center.
“We have about 4,000 people, more or less [who went to the drive-thru testing sites]. The numbers for the walk-in [facilities] are not included here. The drive-thru had 4,000 people. Sad to say, out of 4,000, we have 667 turned positive as of yesterday,” Moreno said in English and Filipino in an interview with cable news channel ANC.
He emphasized that free testing was necessary because of the pandemic and that it should be made available even to non-Manila residents. Anyone can get tested as long as they present one government-issued ID.
The national government has refused to conduct mass testing for COVID-19 because it claimed that it does not have the resources to do so.
“This is the most effective [way]; this is the key because people will no longer walk around [spreading the virus]. You will protect yourself naturally to survive. You’re gonna protect your family to be safe,” Moreno said.
“Time is always of the essence in this kind of crisis. So whatever available resources we had [in Manila], we wanted to do something and share it with our neighboring cities…We will continue to make it available as long as we could do so, as long as we have the resources [to test],” Moreno said.
Manila uses two types of tests: the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test (RT-PCR), considered by experts as the “gold standard” and the serology or antibody test. The latter determines if someone has had COVID-19 in the past and developed antibodies against it. Moreno insists that what they use is almost as good as the RT-PCR test, and could provide results within 24 hours.
The mayor said that they were able to run the testing sites thanks to generous donors, some of whom are not even residents of Manila.
“We are lucky because there are people who help; they see that we live by the principle that love begets love,” Moreno said, adding that everyone is welcome to donate.
“This is a universal problem, it has to be approached inclusively. It only proves people will voluntarily submit him or herself to test as long as it is accessible, and as much as possible, affordable or free,” he said.
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