PCG improves ‘manual’ Covid-19 testing for returning OFWs

– To ease the experience of returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) in getting tested for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has made improvements to its “manual encoding” of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests.

In a statement on Thursday, the PCG said it has deployed more personnel to oversee Covid-19 tests for returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) at One-Stop Shops at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

It also deployed an information technology (IT) team to improvise an automated encoding system to replace its slower manual pre-processing.

It assigned a focal person for each of its partner RT-PCR laboratories.

“This is intended to ease coordination and ensure that results will be sent to the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) in one to two days after delivery. The BOQ will then inform ROFs regarding their swab test results through e-mail addresses provided upon registration at quarantinecertificate.com,” the PCG said.

This, after the PCG was forced to return to the slower pre-processing method after the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) stopped processing Covid-19 tests that are chargeable to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

Meanwhile, the PCG visited several Covid-19 test laboratories to process thousands of samples from ROFs, noting that each laboratory only provides a maximum of 100 tests to the PCG per day.

“This morning, 22 October 2020, the Task Group RT – PCR of the Task Force Bayanihan ROF visited nine of the 12 partner laboratories to deliver 2,394 manually encoded specimens collected at the One-Stop Shops yesterday, 21 October 2020,” the PCG said.

On Wednesday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque asked the PRC to resume its testing for thousands of ROFs to avoid longer personal quarantines.

The number of quarantined ROFs due to delayed results of their Covid-19 tests has reached 6,000 as of Wednesday.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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