People planning to get a COVID-19 test can now troop to SM Megamall in Mandaluyong and Mall of Asia in Pasay, where the Philippine Red Cross opened drive-through saliva testing sites yesterday.
“Even if you have been given the vaccine, testing is the key. We will never stop testing. That’s why we have thought of all ways,” Red Cross chairman Senator Richard Gordon said in yesterday’s opening.
“This is why we have searched all over the world and we saw that America made a saliva test. [Getting a] saliva test is so easy,” he said.
The saliva test costs just about PHP2,000 (US$42), cheaper than a nasal swab test which starts from PHP3,800 (US$79.13). It is reportedly 98.11% accurate, compared to swab tests which are 99% accurate. The saliva test is less painful and invasive because a person just has to leave up to 2 milliliters of his spit into a collection kit.
An online booking has to be made on the website book.redcross1158.com before going to any Red Cross site. People are given a retrieval code which, along with a valid ID, they need to present to Red Cross staff before testing. People should avoid eating, drinking, smoking, and gargling 30 minutes before the test. Results will be sent via email and will also be posted on Red Cross’s website.
COVID tests have become a necessity in the Philippines. Numerous local companies have required their employees to present a negative COVID result first before reporting for work. Tourist sites such as Boracay also require travelers to present negative results before arrival.
Forgeries of tests are becoming common. Boracay police had arrested six tourists who allegedly presented fake negative COVID tests in December.
The Philippines has the second-highest number of COVID cases in Southeast Asia, with 528,853 recorded as of yesterday, including 487,611 recoveries and 10,874 deaths.
This article, PH Red Cross opens drive-through saliva testing sites in Mandaluyong and Pasay, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.