VP Leni highlights importance of making free COVID-19 tests available to the public in visit to OVP Swab Cab in Quezon City
Presidential candidate Vice President Leni Robredo on Monday, January 10, oversaw the implementation of the Office of the Vice President (OVP) Swab Cab in Quezon City which offered free COVID-19 antigen tests to the public.
In a Facebook Live, Robredo said that the lines were already long very early in the morning at the Immaculate Conception Parish Church in Novaliches, an indication that many people wanted to avail of the free swab test to determine if they are sick with COVID-19 or not. The sheer number of people who showed up led the OVP Swab Cab team to set up extra swabbing stations to accommodate more individuals, she said.
“’Yung pinaka sadya po nitong Swab Cab, kasi ang access talaga sa swabbing medyo mahirap ngayon dahil dagsa, so ‘yung ginagawa po natin, dinadala natin ‘yung Swab Cab sa mga communities,” Robredo said.
She said that of the 26 individuals who were swabbed by 9:45 am, 11 tested positive while 15 turned out to be negative for COVID-19.
With the highly transmissible Omicron variant, the Department of Health (DOH) recorded a 44 percent positivity rate on January 7. The country also reached its highest daily COVID-19 tally of 28,707 last Sunday, January 9, since the pandemic began two years ago.
Robredo is advocating for mass testing as an effort to mitigate the spread of the disease. The OVP Swab Cab was launched last year following a spike in cases but was discontinued with the downtrend in COVID-19 cases. However, Robredo immediately revived the free antigen testing last week as the fresh surge of cases began.
The Vice President said COVID-19 tests should be made free and accessible to the public to determine who should isolate or quarantine, and thus cut off the virus transmission.
“Marami 'yung na-expose. Hindi nila alam kung mayroon na sila, tapos pag swinab sila ay nagpapositive. Ang kabutihan po ng alam nila kung positive sila o hindi, at least nakakapag-isolate sila kung positive sila. Hindi na sila nakakahawa ng iba. Alam po natin na grabe 'yung transmissibility nitong variant na ito, so kung may mga gumagala na positive, talagang 'yung pag-increase ng number of cases, grabe talaga,” Robredo said.
Fortunately, more people are now cognizant of the value of having themselves tested, she added.
Robredo also said that while the OVP would want to hold a daily Swab Cab, OVP staff and volunteers were also testing positive for COVID-19, prompting the office to budget its manpower and time to ensure the continuous operations of the project.
Robredo thanked the Quezon City local government for partnering with the OVP for the Swab Cab, the city’s Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit (CESU), UBE Express, the Immaculate Conception Parish Church servers, and the volunteer swabbers, including her daughter, Tricia, a medical doctor who has just recently recovered from COVID-19 and dengue.
On Wednesday, the OVP Swab Cab will be in Payatas B, Quezon City. Last week, it was in Visayas Avenue and the Quezon Memorial Circle. While the Swab Cab is in Quezon City, it will serve everyone, and not only the city’s residents. [End]