“Having swabbing sites this big is really important in our fight against COVID-19,” said Duque. “We are assured that we have enough facilities to test our returning overseas Filipinos, and later on, those in their respective communities as we help their local government.”
Health personnel hired by the DOH and medical staff of the Philippine National Police (PNP) will be manning the arena’s testing booths.
Deputy Chief Implementer of National Task Force (NTF) Vince Dizon said that the facility has 72 testing booths and can conduct 1,000 tests per day.
“It will be manned by various nurses, med techs (medical technologists), nursing assistants, encoders and other assistants to make the operations of swabbing our kababayans very efficient,” he said in an interview over ANC.
The MOA Arena facility is one of four ‘mega swabbing’ centers the government has set up in line with its ‘Test, Trace and Treat’ strategy. The other three are the Enderun Tent in Taguig City, the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bulacan, and the Palacio de Maynila in Roxas Boulevard, Manila, which started operating on May 7.
However, Duque said the increase in specimen collection capacity must correspond with the expansion of the country’s laboratory processing capacity.
Duque also added that the health department is fast-tracking the accreditation of at least 61 laboratories nationwide.
The government estimates 5,000 tests per day from the four swabbing centers will be added to the country’s testing capacity once they are fully operational, according to the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).
It will be operational on Monday and will get samples mostly from repatriated Filipino workers, for now.