Isko: Free COVID testing open to all

Isko Moreno
Mayor Isko Moreno and Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna discuss COVID-19 efforts of the city. Photo by JERRY S. TAN

NON-MOTORIZED public conveyances such as pedicabs and ‘kuligligs’ and non-residents of Manila may also avail of the free COVID-19 testing at the newly-inaugurated center located in front of the Bonifacio Shrine beside the Manila City Hall.

Thus said Mayor Isko Moreno in his live broadcast, as he also announced that the Ospital ng Sampaloc and the Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center (GABMMC) in Tondo, which are the recipients of the new COVID-19 testing machines procured by the city government that have a testing efficiency similar to that of polymerase chain reaction or PCR-machines, have already finished training their respective personnel who will be handling the said machines.

As promised, Moreno said the health frontliners will be the priority in the testing, to ensure their perfect condition while attending to patients, as the said hospitals are slated to begin operating the said machines within a day or two.

Moreno said the city will buy one more machine for the Justice Abad Santos General Hospital in Binondo, saying he wants the north, south, east and west portions of  Manila covered.

According to Moreno, the Architect plus i1000 SR machines from Abbott Laboratories offer 99.6 specificity and 100 percent sensitivity, thus doing away with the ‘’false negative’ and ‘false positive’ results that usually accompany the use of rapid test kits.

The mayor said that the logic of opening the free drive-thru COVID-19 tests even to non-Manilans and non-motorized vehicles is to make the said service accessible to all who need it, adding that he is for fully supporting all other cities when it comes to arresting COVID-19.

“The pandemic is a universal problem. Bawat isang mayor, dapat tulungan tungo sa iisang direksyon…we want to be inclusive in our approach.  Ang Maynila ay puntahan ng tao.. higit tatlong milyon kami on a regular day kaya naisip naming ibigay sa lahat at kung makakatulong sa ibang bayan bakit hindi?” Moreno explained.

The free drive-thru tests, which are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, will accept all kinds of motorists who just need to fill out the forms to be provided to them and present a valid ID, preferably a government ID.

The medical staff assigned will take blood samples in a little less than five minutes and then contact the motorist for his result, based on the number he had provided in the form. Results will be available within 24 hours.

According to Moreno, those who may be tested are persons who have had an exposure to COVID carriers either in their workplace, community or homes; those manifesting flu-like symptoms specially losing one’s sense of taste and those who simply want a peace of mind.

“While living, working, passing by or doing business in Manila, we want you to have that kind of level of comfort and confidence that you are healthy,  at the same time to be responsible toward others by making sure you are not carrying the virus and may be transmitting it unknowingly, and this is for free” he stressed.