SMC donates high-capacity COVID-19 machines to DOH, increases testing capacity by 11,000 daily

Photo courtesy of CNN Ph and Metro news central

Manila, Philippines — San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is donating five sets of testing machines to the government through the Department of Health (DOH), to sunbstantially augment the country's COVID-19 mass testing capacity.

SMS announced that with its donation of Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR ) machines and automated RNA extraction systems, to enable the government to conduct additional 11,000 tests per day. 

While the country's accredited laboratories currently do 4,500 tests daily. This would greatly help the nation to hasten its plans to transition safely out of quarantine by middle of May. 

This would also allow beneficiary laboratories to test faster, using less time and limits human intervention.  Testing kits will also be distributed for DoH to be able to conduct additional 20,000 tests.

"SMC’s donation is seen to help significantly boost government capacity to determine extent, and contain transmission, of the virus before quarantine is lifted on May 15," said SMC in a statement.

The most trusted and diversified conglomerate in the country explained that one set has two RT-PCR equipment, the gold standard for detecting coronavirus, and one automated RNA machine.

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Muntinlupa will receive two sets while the rest will be sent to San Lazaro Hospital in Manila, Vicente Sotto Medical Center in Cebu and Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao, SMC added.

“We are one with the government in wanting to curb the spread of the virus, and with enough capacity to test a greater number of people, we are optimistic we will be able to gradually and safely restart the economy,” SMC Big boss Ramon Ang said.

SMC has also began preparations for a gradual resumption of work with a broader plans that include, among others, testing for its over 30,000 front liners within the organization along with strict regulations on good hygiene, social distancing, mass gatherings.

San Miguel Corp. President and COO Ramon S. Ang said “It is essential that we take early action to ensure our working conditions are safe to return to for our employees and affiliates when government relaxes restrictions.”

He also mentioned that the company is working closely with the government to be able to certify who is clear to return to work. 

“We are committed to getting the economy back and running without risking a second wave of COVID-19 cases,”Ang said.

Most of SMC’s facilities have remained its operations amid lockdown period, to make sure that essential goods and services are available. 

These include food, beverages, power, fuel, expressways, among others. The company has also repurposed its liquor plants to be able to produce ethyl alcohol for donations to medical health workers and other government frontliners.

So far, SMC has already donated ₱1.147-billion worth of food, ethyl alcohol, fuel, protective gear and free toll donations to frontliners and residents affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) beacuse of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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