Palace spokesman Harry Roque announced on Tuesday that four “mega swabbing centers” would be in operation to speed up mass testing for Covid-19, aiming to bump up tests conducted from 5,000 to 30,000 daily.

The first mega swabbing center was opened at the Palacio de Manila in Malate today, while three others will be opened at Enderun Colleges in Taguig, the Philippine Arena in Bulacan and Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President and CEO Vince Dizon on Monday evening said the government aimed to have 58 additional laboratories by May 30, as only 20 were accredited to operate in the country.

Dizon said the government was capable of conducting only 5,000 tests daily, but wanted to increase the number to 30,000 daily once the mega swabbing centers and 58 additional testing laboratories operate.

The government also seeks to test 25,000 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in quarantine facilities to accommodate more inbound OFWs.

Flights in several international airports are suspended until May 10 to decongest quarantine facilities.

The bid to increase daily testing is for the country to be at par with South Korea and Germany, which can conduct 20,000 and 120,000 tests daily, respectively.

“This is really the most effective way of [speeding up] testing for Covid-19… Once we have enough testing capacity, mas magiging kampante po tayo na mag-ease ng restriction,” Dizon said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro