Updated: Dec 12, 2020
“Hampered by limited resources, the Philippine government said it will rely on the private sector to boost the country’s testing capacity as more people return to work following the easing of quarantine restrictions in a number of areas,” reports one article.
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the procurement of 2.2 million rapid test kits to be used together with PCR-based tests. “Rapid tests are what private sector-led initiatives like Project ARK (antibody rapid test kit) use to test workers and residents of local government units who have joined the program,” according to the news article.
Senator Grace Poe applauded the private sector’s prompt response saying, “It was through the private sector’s efforts that we had mass testing immediately. Even the quarantine sites were set up by many private sector groups…. We really also thank the private sector for their efforts because, frankly, without your support, the government could definitely not have done or achieved what it has at this point."
In line with the government’s call for the private sector’s aid in rolling out mass testing efforts, International Sanitization & Protection Suppliers (ISPS) is offering its services to the private sector especially now that Metro Manila, where offices are largely concentrated, and other areas have entered General Community Quarantine.
Eagle Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) was one of the first to respond to the government’s call for companies to conduct rapid tests for COVID-19 for their employees before they are allowed to go to work. This was right after the president’s statement on moving Metro Manila under General Community Quarantine starting June 1. EBC has partnered with International Sanitization and Protection Suppliers (ISPS), the official partner of the IATF in building the quarantine facilities in the country such as the Philippine Arena.
Read the transcription of the interview below:
“ISPS was born a few days after the lockdown and what we want to do is provide protection and supplies to the Filipino people based on experience. We've had in the past. We know this and how to do this and we want to do it professionally here and as this first started it seems like a lot of professionals in the Philippines were concerned on what was going on and we knew we had access to supplies based on our previous experiences and we knew we can make it happen. So, we did it.
Rapid testing will be of huge help as more people start to leave their homes and go to work.
First of all, we have to identify who has it, detect, and then trace it. So test as many people as you can, find out where this pathogen is, and then you can contain it. If we don't know who has it, then we're not going to be able to contain it. So, it's very important to test as many people as you can in your communities or in your provinces in order to contain it right away. Otherwise, there's a lot of asymptomatic that will be spreading it.
One of the ways companies can conduct testing is to set up a pop-up rapid test booth at the entrance before letting employees in.
It’s a very easy procedure. Also, it's a prick on the finger or in the vein and it [the result] comes out in minutes. People may say there's a false positive rate and there is, however, it’s very cheap and cost-effective. So that way you can do as many as possible. And once you find the positives, retest them via swab PCR. The reality is both tests have their pros and cons. Currently, in the Philippines, it's very difficult to get to a swabbing center. And then number two it takes a long time to find out if you are positive or negative because of the backlog they currently have. So, the best way to identify now is through the rapid blood tests so that way you could quickly find out whether you're negative or you're positive and then use that protocol to do follow on procedures if you're positive.
It’s also important to do constant misting and sanitization in all areas of offices. If we mist entire offices, we also disinfect those areas. After undergoing rapid testing, the facility won’t recontaminate them. So we will do it one at a time, practice social distancing and then every time we have a positive result, we will disinfect the whole area.
ISPS reminds the public that if your result is negative, it doesn’t automatically mean you are safe from COVID-19. You still need to be careful and follow safety measures. Just because you got a negative result doesn’t mean you’re safe.
We’re not sure if the virus is in our hands or clothes. I highly recommend that we should always follow the protocol to wear face mask, bring hand sanitizer or alcohol every time, and practice social distancing. Even though we miss our friends at work, it’s better to observe social distancing and have yourself tested for COVID-19 through rapid testing just to make sure. And when you come home, remember to wash your hands before coming into contact with your family.”
Watch the full interview here.
How to get started
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