DA lab in Zamboanga City to be set up as COVID-19 testing center

Roel Pareño - Philstar.com
DA lab in Zamboanga City to be set up as COVID-19 testing center
This handout photo shows Training on Real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction Techniques for Rapid Detection and Characterization of Polioviruses from November 11-15, 2019 at the RITM Training Center.
RITM website

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture's regional diagnostic laboratory in Zamboanga City has been approved as a COVID-19 testing center.

Dr. Joshua Brillantes, Department of Health regional assistant director, said representatives of the DOH, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and the Worl Health Organization inspected Tuesday the recommended centers at the Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC), and the Department of Agriculture (DA) regional diagnostic laboratory.

However, the team only recommended the DA laboratory for approval, saying ZCMC's proposed lab might pose a risk to patients.

Brillantes said the establishment of the testing center is in preparation for the mass testing of patients believed to have been infected by the potentially deadly virus.

Mindanao currently only has one testing center—in Southern Medical Center in Davao City—there are two in the Visayas and five in Luzon.

Brillantes said they are now preparing the documentary requirements and training of personnel to operate the testing center.

Rep. Sharky Palma (Zamboanga Sibugay) has appealed for support from members of the House of Representatives to have more testing centers put up to help speed up the testing of possible COVID-19 cases.

Palma said the hospitals in Zamboanga Peninsula have been dealing with delays in testing because specimens need to be sent to RITM in Manila.

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