MORE than 200 Carbon Public Market and ambulant vendors took the test for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, the first of the three-day mass testing initiated by the Cebu City Government.
On the same day, hundreds of tricycle drivers in Lapu-Lapu City also took the test.
In Cebu City, the city government has pushed for the testing—a combination of rapid diagnostic test and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test—to prevent Covid-19 transmissions in Carbon Public Market, which sits in the densely populated coastal village of Ermita.
City leaders have assured the vendors that their stalls will not be closed as they wait for the results. The vendors, while in isolation, can let their relatives or close friends temporarily manage their stalls.
As of 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, 295 vendors had taken the test. The results are expected to come out within two days.
The second and final days of the mass testing will happen from Oct. 1 to 2. The testing is held in a parking space in Warwick Barracks, a sub-village in Ermita.
City Councilor Joel Garganera, deputy chief implementer of the Emergency Operations Center, said he is expecting more vendors to take the test on Oct. 1. More tents and electric fans will be placed to protect the vendors from the heat.
Vendors who will test positive for Covid-19 will have to isolate themselves in quarantine facilities for 14 days.
The testing went on smoothly as vendors observed the standard health protocol such as mask wearing and social distancing, said Erwin Gok-ong, chairman of Cebu Market Vendors Multi-Purpose Cooperative.
In Lapu-Lapu City, around 5,000 tricycle drivers are targeted to take the test for Covid-19.
The first batch of drivers took the RT-PCR test at Hoops Dome, a basketball court in Barangay Gun-ob, on Sept. 30. The testing will end on Oct. 2.
The second batch will be swabbed from Oct. 5 to 6.
Drivers of modern jeepneys are also included in the mass testing, according to City Epidemiological Surveillance Officer Grace Mary Carungay.
The testing in Lapu-Lapu City is done by batch so as not to affect the public transportation.
Drivers were already advised to stay at their homes while waiting for results; they were also told that if they test positive for Covid-19, they will be taken to isolation centers where they will stay for two weeks. (JJL, PAC, GCM / KAL)