MANILA – Hundreds of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) lined up for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) testing Sunday at the Palacio de Maynila mega swabbing center along Roxas Boulevard.
They arrived aboard buses provided by Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) following strict health protocols and will be tested by the medical team of the Philippine Coast Guard and the Bureau of Fire Protection.
The Palacio de Maynila swabbing facility has 65 specimen collection booths. It started operations on Thursday.
“The government plans to increase the number of Covid-19 testing laboratories to a total of 78 by the end of the month. We expect this to ramp up the country’s testing capacity, hitting 30,000 daily tests by end-May,” national policy against Covid-19 deputy chief implementer Secretary Vince Dizon said in a statement.
Dizon is also president and chief executive officer of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and Presidential Adviser for Flagship Programs and Projects.
Dizon added the immediate goal in the next few days is to swab up to 25,000 seafarers and land-based OFWs, as well as overseas Filipinos.
The setting up of swabbing centers is part of the Test, Trace and Treat (T3) strategy to strengthen the country’s capacity in Covid-19 testing.
The other mega swabbing centers are the Enderun Tent in Taguig City, Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, and the Philippine Sports Stadium at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
The government estimates to conduct a total of 5,000 tests per day once all four swabbing centers are operational. (ia/OWWA)