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COVID-19 Response: RITM to receive Financial Aid from France

MANILA, Philippines — The French government would provide financial aid to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), to support its response against the outbreak.

RITM, the country’s main novel coronavirus testing, and one of the laboratories in Southeast Asia that will benefit from France’s €2-million ECOMORE II project.

Other laboratories that will benefit from the project are Institut Pasteur of Laos, Institut Pasteur of Cambodia, Myanmar’s National Health Laboratory, and Vietnam’s National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Institut Pasteur of Nha Trang and Institut Pasteur of Ho Chi Minh City.

Thursday, April 30, the Embassy of France in Manila said, the assistance will be used to reinforce equipment, purchase diagnosis test kits, acquire personal protective equipment, and augment human resources.

The aid will also be used in training and transfer of skills, deployment of mass testing, and support for data processing in partnership with France’s Institute for Research and Development to strengthen the surveillance of the pandemic.

RITM in Muntinlupa City is the facility that can process the most number of COVID-19 samples in the country. It was forced to scale down operations last week after 45 of its employees tested positive for COVID-19.

“Due to significant disparities in health systems both in the national and regional levels, Southeast Asia faces higher risks in the COVID-19 pandemic… Faced with this challenge, it is essential to strengthening the health infrastructures of the countries in this region,” the French Embassy said.

In the region, the Philippines ranked third in the list of Southeast Asian nations with most virus cases at 8,488, behind Singapore with 16,169 infections and Indonesia with 10,118.

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