COVID-19

Siquijor to get its first COVID-19 testing lab

Ryan Macasero
Siquijor to get its first COVID-19 testing lab

OWN LABORATORY. Central Visayas officials receive COVID-19 swab test machines for Siquijor province.

Photo courtesy of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas

Siquijor is the last province in the Central Visayas to get its own RT-PCR testing laboratory

The province of Siquijor will open its first RT-PCR (reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction) testing laboratory for COVID-19 this 2021, the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) announced on Thursday, March 4.

“The two RT-PCR machines were for the use of Siquijor province and the Department of Health [Central Visayas] regional office,” the OPAV said in a statement Thursday.

“The additional machines will further accelerate the testing capacity for COVID-19 in Central Visayas.”

The Department of Public Works and Highways in Central Visayas will build the laboratory. It is expected to be completed by May and to start operations by July or August.

Currently, swab samples from Siquijor are sent to laboratories in Cebu. It is the last province in the Central Visayas without its own testing laboratory. 

While the region is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases, Siquijor, its smallest province, has the least coronavirus cases, with 10 active cases out of a total of 50 cases 

The island province reported zero coronavirus cases for the first 6 months of the outbreak, until the national government began allowing residents to return to their home provinces.

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According to the OPAV, the two RT-PCR machines for the province were purchased through the Cristina Lee Dino Foundation, named after the mother of OPAV Secretary Michael Dino. 

The Siquijor provincial government is planning to reopen tourism in 2021 in order to recover economically, but it would need its own testing facilities to keep the province safe. 

Siquijor has a population of 95,000, and is accessible via ferry from Dumaguete or Tagbilaran. – Rappler.com

Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers Cebu and the Visayas for Rappler. He covers all news in the region, but is particularly interested in people stories, development issues and local policy making.