THE city of Manila has started building its own storage facility in preparation for the arrival of its COVID-19 vaccines and will now be offering free swab tests too, beginning next week.
Mayor Isko Moreno announced these as he, joined by city engineer Armand Andres, city architect Pepito Balmoris and assistant secretary to the mayor Letlet Zarcal, visited the site of the yet to built “Manila COVID-19 storage facility” located at the seventh floor of the Sta. Ana Hospital headed by its director, Dr. Grace Padilla.
Andres said the building of the said facility that will serve as the depository of the COVID vaccines ordered by the city will take about a couple of weeks to finish, with the site already made available by the mayor himself. The Sta. Ana Hospital is also home to the city’s Manila Infectious Disease Control Center (MIDCC) also under Padilla’s stewardship.
Moreno signed on Monday the documents presented by city general services office (CGSO) chief Thelma Perez for the acquisition of vaccines for 400,000 people, 12 refrigeration system units for vaccine storage and 50 units of transport coolers where the vaccines may be put while in transport, to protect their efficacy. Perez said the freezers and transport coolers worth about P8 million may also be used by the six city-run hospitals even after COVID is gone
Meanwhile, Moreno said the initiatives of the city government to contain the number of coronavirus cases in the city, with the full support of Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna and the entire city council which she heads, continues as free swab testing will now be conducted via drive-thru
The free drive-thru swab testing (RT-PCR) will be opened to motorists at the testing center already operating at the Quirino Grandstand beginning Monday, January 18.
This will be over and above the serology tests already being given for free also at the same venue for interested motorists, whether or not they are residents of Manila. Similar tests continue to be given for free in the city hospitals for non-motorists or walk-in patients.
Moreno said 100 patients may be swabbed everyday but only by appointment. Swab tests, when done in private hospitals or by private companies, cost thousands.
He advised those interested to book a schedule with the Manila Emergency Operation Center of the Manila Health Department by contacting the following cellphone numbers: 09052423327; 09983226367; 09636023177 and 0955587597.