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COVID-19 testing lab at Mactan Airport begins operations

Updated: Jan 23, 2021

Swab booths at the Mactan Cebu International Airport (From MCIAA Facebook)

A molecular laboratory that will test passengers at the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) for SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is now operational.

In a statement issued on July 22, 2020, MCIA terminal operator GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (GMCAC) said the laboratory can process 1,500 to 3,000 RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) tests per day.

Test results are released 24 hours, the quickest in the country, after a passenger is swabbed for a nasopharyngeal specimen.

This is the world’s first airport-dedicated COVID-19 PCR testing laboratory. It holds a BSL-2 certification from the Department of Health (DOH) and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).

The laboratory occupies about 400 square meters. Swab booths have been set up to collect nasopharyngeal specimens from passengers.

“When it became clear that testing capability was going to be a prerequisite for the resumption of international travel, we immediately embarked on the ambitious project of putting up the fastest built and accredited molecular laboratory with the capability to do mass testing and generate results in the quickest possible time,” MCIA Authority general manager and CEO Steve Dicdican said.

“It should be noted that the airport will not profit a single cent from the laboratory because we envisioned this to be our contribution to the government’s effort to bring home our stranded kababayans at minimal cost to them and the government and to jumpstarting our economy,” he added. (Ventures Cebu)

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