UP Diliman building designated as COVID-19 testing center for nearby residents

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 22 2020 07:52 PM

MANILA - A building of the University of the Philippines in Diliman has been designated as a COVID-19 testing center for residents of Quezon City's District 6. 

Quezon City 6th District Rep. Kit Belmonte said he appealed to the university to open its UP Asian Institute of Tourism as a testing center for residents of the district, including Barangay Culiat, one of the biggest villages in the city.

“Susi ito para malaman namin kung kumalat na siya (COVID-19) at nasaan," Belmonte told ABS-CBN News.

(This is key to knowing if COVID-19 has spread and where.)

The Quezon City Health Department is running the UP COVID-19 testing center under the Department of Health's supervision.

Belmonte said that 40 residents of the 6th District were examined in the newly-designated testing center on Monday, including those from Culiat.

The duration of the strict enforcement of a lockdown in Culiat will be based on tests conducted at the UP testing center, he added.

Culiat was one of the first barangays in Quezon City that reported COVID-19 cases. When Luzon was placed under lockdown in March, the village already had 30 cases of the deadly disease.

Belmonte said if they see the curve flattening in Culiat, they will be recommending modification of the village's lockdown.

"...More importantly, mas mata-target namin kung nasaan talaga 'yung infection. Magiging accurate yung contact tracing namin, magiging accurate 'yung areas na higpitan talaga," he said.

(...More importantly, we will be able to locate the infections. Our contact tracing will be more accurate, places that will be under lockdown will also be determined.)

Culiat's chairman Vic Bernado said he and his village are grateful for the testing center.

"Napakalaking tulong po. Hindi tayo bulag kung 'yung kalaban natin hindi natin nakikita. Ito 'yung pag-asa na makikita mo siya kung saan siya nakakarating," he said.

(This is a big help. We will not be blind to an invisible enemy. This is our hope to see where it's been going.)

UP Diliman said that aside from the Asian Institute of Tourism, it is planning to open its historic Palma Hall, the College of Social Science and Philosophy, as testing center for residents.

The university's chancellor, Fidel Nemenzo, said this is part of the UP Diliman community's contribution in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis in Quezon City.

“Naghihingalo na ang Quezon City, ang bilis ng pagtaas ng COVID cases sa Quezon City, at sooner or later, huwag naman sana mangyari, baka tamaan ang UP Diliman," Nemenzo said.

(Quezon City is exhausted with the rise of COVID-19 cases, and sooner or later, may it never happen, it may strike UP Diliman.)

“Kaya ang pagtugon ng UP hindi lang sa pagbubukas ng aming mga gusali ano para sa mga PUIs (persons under investigation) at mga health workers. Maraming isinasagawang research policy, pagde-develop ng mga teknolohiya, ibang mga initiatives ang nagaganap ngayon sa kolehiyo para sa isang multi-disciplinary na pagtugon sa COVID.”

(So UP's response is not only through opening our buildings for PUIs and health workers. Research policies are also being conducted, developing technology, and other initiatives. The university is currently responding to COVID through multi-disciplinary actions.)

Scientists from the university earlier developed COVID-19 testing kits "that can accommodate up to 120,000 tests.”