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DOH: Opening Marikina COVID-19 testing lab on Friday will pose risks to community


It is still premature to open Marikina City's own testing laboratory this coming Friday as it has not completed the biosafety standards yet, according to the Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday.

"Ito pong laboratoryo na ito ay hindi pa po kayang lisensyahan dahil marami pa hong kakulangan. Kami po ay nandito at ino-offer namin na tutulungan namin sila para mabuksan natin ito sa lalong madaling panahon," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an interview on GMA News' Unang Balita.

"Pero hindi po natin puwedeng ipilit na kung wala pang training ang mga tao. Hindi pa husto ang kanilang compliance sa kanilang physical structure at sa kanilang workflow process ...Ito po ay makakapag-cause ng risks sa ating community diyan sa Marikina," she added.

In a statement on Tuesday, the DOH said that Marikina's testing laboratory is in stage 3 of a five-stage accreditation process.

It advised the local government to enroll the laboratory technicians to UP-National Institutes of Health's online course and an onsite training that is scheduled on Monday.

Marikina Mayor Marcelino "Marcy" Teodoro, on the other hand, maintained that he will push through with the opening of the facility on Friday. He stressed that the staff who will work in the laboratory are already trained and experienced.

Nonetheless, he said he has also requested DOH for a biosafety training schedule before Friday but to no avail.

"Kapag binuksan ko ito sa Biyernes alam ko may batas akong lalabagin ngunit pipiliin ko nang managot sa batas dahil sa pangangailangan ng ating mga kababayan dito," Teodoro said.

“Ang sabi ko, may public health emergency tayo. Mahalaga ang bawat araw,” he said.

On the other hand, Vergeire said that the training schedule of laboratory personnel is being handled by the UP-NIH and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

She underscored that it will take a day and a half because there are a lot of modules to be tackled.

"Ito po ay pinagtutuunan ng oras at saka ng pansin dahil importanteng parte po ito ng ating certification. 'Yung pong ating mga personnel kailangan marunong talaga sila, sila ay bihasa," she said.

"Delikado po kasi dahil live virus nga po ito kaya napakabusisi ng ginagawa natin. It's highly technical kaya kailangan po talaga mag-undergo ng training," she added. —Dona Magsino/KG, GMA News