Friday, May 24

RTF mulls COVID-19 lab in Batanes

BY OLIVER T. BACCAY

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan (August 7)—The Regional Task Force-Corona Virus Disease 2019 (RTF-Covid-19) in Cagayan Valley is contemplating the establishment of a testing laboratory in the island province of Batanes.

Civil Defense regional director Dante Balao, Region 2 Covid-19 Task Force chair, urged health officials in Batanes to submit their application to the Department of Health to enable their acquisition of funds for the establishment of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) testing center.

Balao stressed that Batanes needs the laboratory more than any other province in the region considering its geographical distance to the mainland of Cagayan Valley.

“Accessibility remains to be a challenge in the island province, especially now that commercial flights are irregular yet,” Balao said.

He also said if the two laboratories of Cagayan will shut down, it would be easier to resolve as there are other laboratories in the neighboring regions where specimen may be tested.

“If the number of specimens to be collected in Batanes surges, it would be very difficult and expensive on the government side as we will be sending the specimen samples daily via commercial flights or government air assets,” Balao stressed.

Batanes remains to not have any Covid-19 positive case as of press time but Batanes Ignacio acting Governor Villa said they already have some persons under monitoring and suspected cases.

“We have five suspected cases. We collected specimen samples from them already and we sent it to a laboratory in Manila for confirmation,” Villa said during the Network Briefing program hosted by Secretary Martin Andanar.

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Villa also added that they continue to accept locally stranded individuals and returning overseas Filipinos in compliance with the Inter-Agency Task Force order. PIA