Zamboanga mayor seeks DOH help in coronavirus testing

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 16 2020 11:02 AM | Updated as of Apr 16 2020 11:12 AM

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MANILA - Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco on Thursday urged the Department of Health (DOH) to help the Mindanaoan city in conducting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) tests to ensure that the disease is also addressed "outside Metro Manila."

Despite having 5 COVID-19 cases, 117 persons under investigation and 598 persons under monitoring, Zamboanga City has yet to receive coronavirus test kits from the DOH, Climaco told DZMM's Failon Ngayon.

"We are asking help from the DOH to rapidly test these possible cases so we can ensure that they receive medical services... In order to fight COVID outside Metro Manila," Climaco said.

The Zamboanga City government can afford to buy FDA-approved COVID-19 test kits, but it needs the DOH's help to administer the swabbing, the mayor said.

"We have the finances to purchase these but we need DOH to technically help us," she said.

She said it is important to conduct coronavirus tests in Zamboanga as the city is a traditional gateway of Filipinos coming to and from Malaysia, a country with the second highest COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia next to the Philippines.

As of April 15, 5,453 patients in the Philippines tested positive for COVID-19, with 349 deaths and 353 recoveries.

The country has started its targeted mass testing program earlier this week using locally-manufactured test kits as well as swabbing units from South Korea and China.

The DOH has yet to release how many tests it has conducted since the mass testing program began.