Jakarta: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has donated two covid-19 testing machines that can each test nearly 100 people per hour to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to support the country’s response to the pandemic.
The real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction testing machines will be installed in the Philippine Army Molecular Laboratory in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. The laboratory will support the covid-19 testing of AFP personnel in Metro Manila as they continue to play a key role in reducing the spread of the virus.
“ADB supports the Philippine government’s strategy to prevent and control covid-19 by expanding testing, particularly in hardest-hit Metro Manila and surrounding provinces,” said ADB Director General for Southeast Asia Ramesh Subramaniam in a press release issued on Friday.
“We have seen military personnel in action on the frontline from the beginning of the pandemic and we hope the new testing machines will help ensure the safety of AFP’s essential workers," he added.
For more than 7 months, the military has played a key role in implementing official covid-19 control measures in the Philippines. They operate checkpoints, distribute food, and manage local quarantine regulations. The government is seeking to raise its daily covid-19 testing capacity to about 50,000 by the end of the year, compared with nearly 31,000 as of mid-August.
Procurement of the testing machines, at $35,000 each, is part of ADB’s $5 million Rapid Emergency Supplies Provision Assistance to the Philippines, approved in March 2020. The program is known locally as Bayan Bayanihan.