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Davao City offers free COVID-19 RT-PCR tests for returnees amid COVID-19 pandemic

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte on Wednesday called on individuals who have returned and will be returning to the city from being stranded elsewhere to avail of a free COVID-19 test paid for by the city government amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Duterte said the free COVID-19 Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test will cover airline passengers who arrived in Davao City starting June 8.

She added that the free COVID-19 testing will be offered as long as it is needed.

“Puwede sila mag-avail ng libreng testing by the City Government of Davao. Asymptomatic or symptomatic, puwede sa libreng [COVID-19] testing starting Monday, June 29,” Duterte said in an interview over Davao City Disaster Radio.

“This is voluntary. Mag reach-out lang sila sa ating Operations Center. The Operations Center will be the one to give them instructions as to where to go, what time will the testing occur etc. Ilalabas po namin ang detalye within this week. We will also release information cards,” she added.

Based on its records, the Davao City government has assisted 5,825 individuals inbound to Davao City and 4,512 persons outbound from Davao City via land, air, and sea as of June 20.

Of these numbers, 18 returning OFWs and two locally stranded individuals have tested positive for COVID-19.

“As of now…with the budget we have, we can test 1,000 people, but we are still in talks with the laboratories because if there are more people willing to avail of the free testing, they are willing to substantially lower the price. If I'm not mistaken, for every 10 patients willing to be tested, they will give a discount,” Duterte said.

“This [free COVID-19 tests] is another way for us to get a hold of patients; on top of our efforts on contact tracing, case finding here in our communities,” she said.

Duterte clarified that the free COVID-19 tests cannot be extended to other Davao City residents at this point. —KG/BM, GMA News