PPA opens RT-PCR testing for seafarers at South Harbor

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    State-run Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) yesterday launched the South Harbor Molecular laboratory that offers RT -PCR testing for up to 2,000 seafarers daily with a 24 to 48-hour turnaround time for results at a much lower price.

    Jay Daniel Santiago, PPA general manager, said the operator of the laboratory will charge P4,500 for testing of the seafarers, which is lower than the P6,000 standard rate with same turnaround time for the non-seafarers.

    The reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) molecular testing laboratory was established with the primary objective of catering to the testing requirements for crew-change hub ports controlled by the PPA.

    In addition, the facility also provides a One – Stop- Shop to assist seafarers in their travel requirements for ease of transactions and in identifying possible isolation facilities where they may take their mandatory quarantine until the quarantine certificates are released.

    This is to ensure the safety and welfare of all inbound and outbound seafarers.

    Santiago said the project has been in the pipeline as part of the over-all COVID-19 pandemic response by the government, and as an integral part in the processing of seafarer deployment and facilitation of crew change being done in the country.

    Narciso Vingson Jr., DOTr assistant secretary for Maritime, said the establishment of the laboratory will give assurance that our seafarers are coming back to their respective families safe and virusfree. — Myla Iglesias