Hundreds of Grab drivers, other non-medical frontliners undergo free COVID-19 testing

More than 500 Grab car drivers and delivery riders, and other non-medical frontliners underwent free COVID-19 testing on Thursday, July 30, at swabbing booths put up at Liwasang Aurora inside the Quezon Memorial Circle.

“Alam po natin na meron na tayong revised protocol [para sa expanded] testing, kasama na ang [economy] workers. Sa ngayon ang ating national action plan ay tuloy-tuloy po nating ginagawa, at nagkakaroon po kami ng visitations sa maraming affected areas. I would like to thank the mayors of NCR (National Capital Region) dahil nakita po natin ang ating [mas agresibong] testing at tracing,” says National Action Plan Against COVID-19 Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. who graced the event.

Present during the testing activity were National Action Plan Against COVID-19 Deputy Chief Implementer and Testing Czar Secretary Vince Dizon, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte, Department of Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Ricojudge Janvier Echiverri, and Grab Philippines President Brian Cu.

“Nagpapasalamat po ako sa IATF at sa National Task Force at pinili po nila ang Lungsod Quezon na bilang host city kung saan idaraos natin itong testing program para sa ating Grab drivers, na ilan sa mga pinaka-exposed nating mga mamamayan. At kailangan natin sila talagang bigyan ng pagkakataon ng libreng testing,” Mayor Belmonte said.

Grab Philippines President Brian Cu assured an income protection of up to Php10,000 for the company’s drivers and riders who will test positive to encourage their workers to undergo testing, and help the government’s efforts to detect more COVID-19 cases and lessen the transmission of the disease.

“Matagal na po naming inaantay na sana ma-test ang ating mga drivers kasi sila nga po ay mga frontliners. Naturally, marami sa kanila ang natatakot dahil kapag positibo daw sila, mawawalan sila ng hanapbuhay. So I do hope na tuloy-tuloy itong programang ito at makita namin ang kabuuan ng Grab drivers and riders. Really, this will help boost the economy back on its feet,” says Grab Philippines President Brian Cu.

The testing for Grab drivers and riders is a continuous program and is integrated in the national government’s expanded testing protocols that now include workers in the transport and logistics sectors.

“There are more than 60,000 Grab car drivers and delivery riders. Lahat po ng 60,000 ay ite-test natin under the expanded targeted testing guidelines na galing sa ating Department of Health. Kung maaalala ninyo noong mga naunang buwan ng laban natin sa COVID, wala tayong laboratory at kulang tayo sa supplies. Ang na-test lang natin noong kapanahunang ‘yon ay yung mga may sintomas.  Pero ngayon, 94 testing laboratories na ang meron tayo [at] up to 33,000 tests per day na ang nagagawa natin ngayong July,” Dizon said.

The country has also surpassed its goal of conducting one million tests within the month with 1.359 million tests conducted as of July 25.

Presidential Spokesperson Roque asked the public for full cooperation as the government further strengthens its COVID-19 response.  

“Patuloy po itong reinvigorated response natin sa COVID-19. Dumadami ang mga kaso pero habang dumadami ang kaso, ang katotohanan ay kinakailangang maghanapbuhay pa rin at ito ang intensified at widespread targeted testing na ginagawa natin. Ito ay bahagi ng realidad na nariyan po ang COVID pero kinakailangang mabuhay pa rin ang mamamayan,” Roque said.

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