Baguio City’s testing capacity is the highest in the country, Mayor Benjamin Magalong said.
The city has done a total of 132,665 Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests as of March 11 and this represents 33 percent of the city’s population at 375,000, according to the mayor.
He said aggressive community testing will be sustained for the city to maintain its consistency in its testing capacity.
The mayor said sustained testing is an effective means to control the spread of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“It will continue to be a vital strategy in our fight against the virus because while expanded testing translates to increased number of cases, it nevertheless helps us determine our true situation and when we know where we stand, we can act accordingly and therefore prevent more infections and even death,” the mayor said.
The mayor said the city had temporarily lifted its testing requirement for those entering the city because of the test’s prohibitive costs to both residents and tourists.
But knowing the importance of testing in preventing cases and in view of the emergence of new and more transmissible variants, the city requested the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases to allow the conduct of antigen tests instead.
The mayor assured that once reimposed, antigen testing will be made affordable to the entrants.
“We will give it our residents at cost or at P350 from as high as P1,300. Tourists would be charged the same owing to the P1.8 million subsidy granted by the Dept. of Tourism,” he said. – Aileen P. Refuerzo