Australia enhances PRC’s molecular lab – BusinessMirror

4 November 2020

THE Commonwealth of Australia has provided support to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) in setting up and operating a laboratory to increase its capacity for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) testing in Metro Manila.

The molecular laboratory is part of an AU$4.1-million (about P143.5 million) pandemic-response package that Australia has provided to the PRC. It has also funded a specialized ambulance for transporting highly infectious Covid-19 patients, 1 million face masks and 20,000 pieces of personal protective equipment for frontline workers.

Ambassador Steven J. Robinson AO joined Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases Deputy Chief Implementer Secretary Vivencio B. Dizon, and PRC Chairman and CEO Senator Richard J. Gordon at the launch of the laboratory.

“As a good friend and neighbor, Australia stands as one with the Philippines to meet this unprecedented challenge,” Robinson said. “We are working together to support the response to the pandemic…by supporting health needs, working on economic recovery and promoting stability.”

The diplomat confirmed, “This laboratory…has a capacity to test 12,000 samples per day.” He added, “This is truly an exercise in bayanihan [among Australia, the PRC, Metro Manila local government units, together with the] Metrobank Foundation and the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry.”

Australia is also working with the International Committee of the Red Cross in supporting both community health care and the economic recovery of those affected in Mindanao. It is also partnering with the United Nations Population Fund to respond to the needs of women and girls, including pregnant mothers, by providing health kits and triage facilities in three Metro Manila hospitals.

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