Concepcion: First batch of rapid test kits for mass testing now in PH

May 18 ------ Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo Founder Joey Concepcion announced yesterday the arrival of the first batch of more than 500,000 antibody rapid test kits for Project ARK. These will be shared among 205 partner companies to screen their employees for the safe reopening of their businesses. “On May 19 and 20, we are flying in two planeloads of PCR-swab testing equipment (including automated extractor machines), which were donated by our private sector donors. This is also our initiative on the support for expanding the RT-PCR tests on our government hospitals and selected private hospitals. Through the collaborative effort of the DOH (Department of Health), Red Cross Philippines, and Go Negosyo partners, we should be looking at 30,000 tests a day in 45 days, and hopefully within the next three months, we would attain 50,000 tests,” Concepcion said. “According to Cong. Janette Garin, who is our private sector chief implementer for Project ARK-PCR Initiative, the goal is to make swab testing price more affordable. That is why we partnered with some government hospitals that can offer it for less than ₱1,700 per PCR test. In this way, we will be able to make it more accessible to everyone,” he added. Both Garin and Concepcion agree that ordinary Filipinos must not pay a high price for RT-PCR testing. “The Go Negosyo donations are the best bang for the buck in the Philippines today. Project ARK-PCR initiative helps put up automated laboratories and/or converting manual laboratories to automated and modern and complete laboratory setups. The project makes the price of RT-PCR tests more reasonable,” said Garin. Accessibility, affordability, and the timely release of results within 24 hours are the expected output of the Project ARK PCR laboratories. Concepcion reiterated that economic activity should start and must be accompanied by aggressive mass testing using both antibody rapid tests and RT-PCR tests. “This is the key to avoiding another lockdown. That is what we, along with Deputy Chief Implementer of COVID-19 Response Vince Dizon, are focused on. These tests, used following the DOH protocols, will help create visibility.” “We strongly disagree that massive rapid testing of our employees is a waste of resources. It is, in fact, a way of protecting our businesses and the lives of our people. The private sector is spending more than ₱500 million to ₱600 million on this, but continuous lockdown is going to cost us much more. As for accuracy, we are encouraging companies to test every 14 days. The more we test, the more accurate our data will be.” “That is our goal, to make testing accessible and affordable. Be it antibody rapid tests or RT-PCR tests. Affordable testing, tracing, and treatment, these should be our marching orders if we want to keep the economy open. These, along with the proper use of masks, social distancing, and other regulations – are the keys to winning the war.” Source: