The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) will temporarily limit to four cities in Metro Manila the areas from where it will receive specimens for COVID-19 tests, the Department of Health said on Tuesday.
This developed after at least 40 members of the RITM staff tested positive for the coronavirus disease.
The RITM said the scaled down operations that began on April 16 will last until Friday, April 24.
The RITM will only receive specimens from Muntinlupa, Parañaque, Las Piñas, and Pasay to limit further backlogs “until the laboratory has an optimal number of staff to resume regular operations.”
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier said this may affect the daily tally of COVID-19 cases.
“The RITM shall be referring currently received specimens to activated subnational laboratories and COVID-19 partner laboratories to prevent delays in testing and releasing of results,” the institute said.
There are 16 other laboratories in the country that have been certified to conduct independent COVID-19 testing.
The director of the country’s national reference laboratory earlier said 40 of their staff tested positive for COVID-19 after an encoder contracted the coronavirus outside the workplace.
The RITM has tested over 34,000 people since January. -NB, GMA News