MCIA set to become 1st airport in the country with own COVID-19 test lab

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram, Rosalie O. Abatayo - Multimedia Reporters - CDN Digital | June 01,2020 - 07:28 PM
LOOK: A sneak peek inside Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) under the 'new normal'. These were taken on June 1, 2020 | Photos courtesy of Norman Mendoza via Morexette Marie B. Erram

This is a sneak peek inside Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) under the ‘new normal’ in this June 1, 2020 photo. | Photo courtesy of Norman Mendoza via Morexette Marie B. Erram

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) is ready to accommodate passengers now that most parts of the country are under the ‘new normal’.

In a press release issued on Monday, June 1, airport authorities said the Philippines’ second-busiest gateway was ready to resume operations with safety measures in place both in domestic and international terminals.

GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (GMCAC) Chief Executive Advisor Andrew Acquaah-Harrison was quoted on saying that the airport’s operating procedures and environment were modified in observance of general community quarantine (GCQ) mandated by the national government’s anti-coronavirus task force.

READ MORE: Cebu City under GCQ starting June 1

“As we experience a new norm in traveling, we will keenly observe how the passengers will react to the new environment and make adjustments when necessary. At the same time, we ask the passengers and staff for their cooperation and understanding as we implement these new measures for their well-being and safety,” said Harrison.

MCIA’s testing lab

One of the highlights of MCIA’s ‘new normal’ was the construction of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing laboratory at the Arrivals Reclaim Area of Terminal 2.

READ MORE: Cebu airport to build COVID-19 test laboratory

Upon completion, the MCIA would become the country’s first airport to have its own molecular laboratory to accommodate real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests, and designed to examine up to 1,500 swab samples per day.

“Once swab samples are taken and brought to the on-site laboratory, OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) and seafarers will be billeted in hotels designated as quarantine facilities by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and the Department of Tourism while waiting for their test results,” the statement read.

MCIA Authority (MCIAA) General Manager Steve Dicdican was also quoted saying that the COVID-19 testing laboratory would ‘augment the government’s testing capacity and fast track the processing of arriving OFWs and seafarers and decongest NAIA.’

“At the same time, it will help alleviate the plight of OFWs and seafarers who desperately want to return to the Visayas and Mindanao but are stranded in quarantine centers in Luzon while waiting for their COVID-19 test results,” Dicdican said.

A private firm involved in health care was hired to manage and run the laboratory while the MCIA community will be providing the medical staff.

Airport officials also said that they would still currently be processing the laboratory’s accreditation from the Department of Health (DOH) and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM). /dbs

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