SMC opens Mandaluyong COVID-19 testing hub
Conglomerate San Miguel Corp. inaugurated on Friday a new coronavirus (COVID-19) testing laboratory in Mandaluyong with an initial capacity of 4,000 tests per day using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), deemed as the gold standard for COVID-19 testing.
The testing capacity of SMC’s new hub, called Better World Edsa, can be increased to 12,000 per day or nearly a quarter of the government’s targeted daily capacity for the whole country.
The facility aims to test some 70,000 employees in SMC’s network, citing the need to unburden the public health sector and help ensure a safe return-to-work strategy in the coming months, SMC announced on Friday.
SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang unveiled the marker for the new lab along with National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 chief implementer and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., COVID-19 Task Force deputy chief implementer and testing czar Vince Dizon and Department of Health undersecretary Leopoldo Vega.
The lab is equipped with two sets of RT-PCR machines and fully automated nucleic acid extraction systems or NATCH. Each set is comprised of two PCR machines and one NATCH. This makes the facility one of the most advanced private testing laboratories in the country, the conglomerate said.
“Two weeks into the quarantine last March, we included the testing laboratory as part of our business continuity plan. We procured the machines, and had personnel undergo training for its full-scale operations,” said Ang.
“With this facility, we are taking responsibility for testing our own employees and unburdening our health system. It also helps make our operations more resilient to disruptions brought about by the virus. Lesser disruptions on our operations will allow us to better contribute to the immediate recovery of the economy,” he said.
SMC, for its part, aims to bring back to the workplace 50 percent of its employees in the coming weeks.
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