ADB helps boost Philippine military’s COVID-19 testing capacity

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has provided two coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing machines that can each test nearly 100 people per hour to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to assist the Philippine’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction measuring machines will be introduced in the Philippine Army Molecular Laboratory in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. The laboratory will support the COVID-19 testing of AFP personnel in Metro Manila as they continue to play a key role in reducing the spread of the virus.

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“ADB supports the Philippine government’s strategy to prevent and control COVID-19 by expanding testing, particularly in hardest-hit Metro Manila and surrounding provinces,” stated ADB Director General for Southeast Asia Ramesh Subramaniam.

“We have seen military personnel in action on the frontline from the beginning of the pandemic and we hope the new testing machines will help ensure the safety of AFP’s essential workers,” Subramaniam said.

For more than 7 months, the military has played a key role in implementing official COVID-19 control measures in the Philippines. They operate checkpoints, distribute food, and manage local quarantine regulations. The government is seeking to raise its daily COVID-19 testing capacity to about 50,000 by the end of the year, compared with nearly 31,000 as of 15 August.

On 24 April, ADB signed a $1.5 billion loan to help the Philippine government fund its COVID-19 response program and strengthen the country’s health care system in its fight against the pandemic.

On 27 April, ADB approved a $200 million loan to support the government provides emergency cash subsidies to vulnerable households amid the pandemic. A $125 million loan was signed by ADB on 25 August to help the Philippines improve health services across the country through medical equipment and supplies procurement, upgrade, and related training.

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