Philippine Arena turned into a COVID-19 testing facility

As the country races against time in the fight against COVID-19, increasing the testing capacity for its 100 million-strong population as soon as possible is one of the utmost priorities of the government.

This is because in order to see an accurate picture of the extent of the spread of COVID-19 across the country, we need to conduct enough tests. Currently, we have only conducted a total of over 260,000 tests, which amounts to a little over 10% of the goal to test 2 million Filipinos. 

Largest indoor arena as a COVID-19 swabbing center

In an attempt to ramp up testing, the Philippine Arena, once a venue for big events such as concerts held by international stars, has been transformed into the largest COVID-19 swabbing center in the country. The aim is to increase the testing capacity to 30,000 daily by the end of May.

Philippine Arena as a COVID-19 swabbing center
Philippine Arena
Image credit: The BCDA Group

The mega swabbing center, which will start operating in a few days, houses 96 testing booths that can conduct a total of 1,500 tests daily, bringing the daily capacity of all four mega swabbing centers we currently have to 5,000. 

Together with the three other swabbing centers – the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay, Enderun Tent in Taguig, Palacio de Maynila in Roxas Boulevardand other sites conducting COVID-19 tests across the country, the Philippine Arena is expected to help the government reach its target of conducting 30,000 swab tests daily by 30th May.

The “gold standard” in COVID-19 testing

The tests conducted are RT-PCR tests, or more commonly known as “swab” tests, and involve getting samples through a nasal swab. They are also considered the “gold standard” in testing for COVID-19 compared to rapid test kits.

Philippine Arena as a COVID-19 swabbing center
Image credit: The BCDA Group

Testing priority will be given to returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), as well as suspected and probable cases from frontliners and residents living in Northern Manila, Bulacan and Pampanga. 

Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) set up the testing infrastructure in the arena with the help of private companies and Iglesia ni Cristo. The Bureau of Fire Protection and volunteers from various government agencies will lead the management of this new swabbing facility. 

Bureau of Fire Protection leads the new swabbing facility
Image credit: The BCDA Group

Mega swabbing centers in Metro Manila

MOA Arena turned into a COVID-19 swabbing facilityMOA Arena
Image credit: The BCDA Group 

A venue for some of the most memorable events in the past as well, the MOA Arena is lending the government its spacious facility for now as the PNP Medical Corps is currently managing its 72 testing booths for tests in the South of Metro Manila. 

Enderun Tent
Enderun Tent

Image credit: The BCDA Group

The Enderun Tent at McKinley Hill in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, meanwhile, has 54 testing booths for tests in the East of Metro Manila and is managed by Armed Forces of the Philippines Health Service Command.

Palacio de MaynilaPalacio de Maynila Tent
Image credit: The BCDA Group

The Palacio de Maynila has 65 testing booths for tests in the West of Metro Manila and is under the management of Philippine Coast Guard and Bureau of Fire Protection. 

The fight against COVID-19

As we work towards ramping up our testing capacity, these swabbing centers are a welcome sight in defeating COVID-19. We hope that these mega infrastructures, together with other testing sites in the country, will indeed help the Philippine government meet its target. 

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Cover image adapted from: Judgefloro/Wikimedia Commons, The BCDA Group


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