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LGUs must follow biosafety requirements before setting up COVID-19 testing facilities—DOH

Local government units must first comply with the safety standards set by the Department of Health (DOH) before setting up their own testing facilities for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Wednesday.

"Ang ating pong mga ginagawang proseso para ma-test ang ating COVID-19 sa ating mga laboratory is highly technical. It has biosafety issues and it has biosafety risks," Vergeire said in a press briefing.

"Gusto nating siguraduhin na maka-comply po ang ating mga laboratoryo, kasama na po ang ating City Government of Marikina, sa ating pamantayan at pagkatapos noon maaari na po silang makapag-operate," she added.

She underscored that while it is the goal of the DOH to establish more testing centers in the country, ensuring the safety of the community is paramount.

The local government of Marikina City was supposed to open its own testing facility for COVID-19 cases on Monday but the DOH halted the move due to regulatory requirements.

Marikina Mayor Marcelino Teodoro said they are still awaiting a go signal from the DOH.

He added that the local government is willing to allow the DOH to take over the operation of the local testing facility, if needed.

“Kung gusto nila, I could turn over the facility to DOH para sa ganun sila na ang mamamahala. Tulong na po ‘yun ng local na pamahalaan,” Teodoro said.

“Ang aking pinaggigiitan lamang po, magkaroon tayo ng mas maraming available na test kits, mas maraming testing centers na magagamit ang ating mga kababayan. Makaka-access sila. Hindi issue kung sino ang magma-manage o sino ang mamamahala,” he added.

The Philippines has recorded 552 COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, with 35 deaths and 20 recoveries.—AOL, GMA News