Manila City Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso on Monday, July 20 led the launch of the capital’s first COVID-19 walk-in testing center located just outside the Ospital ng Sampaloc.

Domagoso said this is in line with the city government’s initiative to conduct mass testing operations in communities.

“Ito ay tinatawag nating community-based mass testing,” Domagoso told reporters after the launch of the testing site.

The Mayor said he has already asked for assistance from barangay officials to set up tents to provide comfortable waiting areas for those who want to get tested.

“This walk-in concept is a concept wherein people should not be afraid anymore to go to the hospital because we all know hospitals have COVID-19 patients. Hindi kailangan tumaas ang high probability of being exposed, kaya we made it adjacent to the hospital,” he said.

The testing site is capable of conducting 150 tests per day, but the Mayor said the city government is striving to accommodate more patients through purchase of more reagents.

Reagents are needed to test blood samples taken from patients at the testing facilities. These are processed using the COVID-19 serology testing machines purchased by the Manila City government from American healthcare firm Abbott.

“With the cash donations coming in to the Manila City government, we can use them to buy reagents,” Domagoso said.

“With that, tataas ang aming load capacity. Naturally, as we progress, and may awa ang Diyos, again and again, it will be made available to everyone,” he said.

Domagoso said more walk-in testing centers will soon open in the City of Manila: one each at the Ospital ng Maynila, Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center, Ospital ng Tondo and Justice Jose Abad Santos General Hospital.

Likewise, Domagoso said the Manila City government is also eyeing to create another quarantine facility in Quiapo.

Currently, the city government has 12 quarantine facilities with a capacity of 545 beds.

“We’ll just continue to build hangga’t makakaya namin. We continue to accommodate as many as possible, as quick as possible,” Domagoso said.

“In this time of crisis, time is of the essence. The earlier the detection, the better for the city, the better for the community,” he said.