Cebu airport builds coronavirus testing lab in terminal for returning OFWs
CEBU CITY, Philippines – The newly-opened Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) is now equipped with a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing lab for overseas Filipino workers returning from other countries.
“This initiative will augment the government’s testing capacity and fast-track the processing of arriving OFWs and seafarers and decongest NAIA,” MCIAA General Manager Steve Dicdican said in a press statement on Monday, June 1.
“At the same time, it will help alleviate the plight of OFWs and seafarers who desperately want to return to the Visayas and Mindanao but are stranded in quarantine centers in Luzon while waiting for their COVID-19 test results,” Dicdican added.
The lab will be manned by MCIA staff who are trained by the Department of Health, and will supplement the existing labs in the area.
Over 24,000 OFWs are currently on their way back to the provinces. But as the country eases restrictions on travel, OFWs may come straight through the Cebu airport. (READ: Central Visayas, Cebu gear up for more OFW arrivals)
Once swab samples are taken and processed in the MCIA lab, travelers will be booked in hotels for another quarantine period while waiting for their test results.
According to the latest data from the Department of Foreign Affairs, at least 100,000 OFWs are stranded worldwide due to lockdowns and travel restrictions.
The lab is currently working on getting accreditation from the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine and the Department of Health.
Other protocols in place at the airport include stricter physical distancing, walking guides, face masks and PPEs, and temperature checks, among other measures.
Foot baths and hand sanitation will also be required in common areas.
Send-off parties will be limited to one companion only.
The total number of cases in the Central Visayas is 2,863, according to the latest DOH-7 bulletin. There have been 64 deaths so far, while 390 have been admitted for critical care since January 31. – Rappler.com