Duque: Marikina lab likely to get DOH nod by April 22

DESPITE the local government unit (LGU) pushing through with the opening Friday of the Marikina City Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory, the facility won't be getting the approval of the Department of Health (DOH) until April 22, 2020.

In a radio interview, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said the facility is not expected to be accredited as a testing laboratory for the novel coronavirus until next week.

"According to (DOH) Undersecretary (Maria Rosario) Vergeire, the (Marikina) laboratory will likely be accredited already by Wednesday," said Duque.

His announcement comes amid the decision of Marikina Mayor Marcy Teodoro to open their own Covid-19 testing facility without DOH approval.

Teodoro had cited the snail-paced accreditation process of the DOH as the reason for the delay in the commissioning of the laboratory.

Duque defended the accreditation process, noting that they are dealing with a highly contagious virus.

"Safety is our number one concern as this is a live virus we are dealing with. If the safety of the laboratory is not ascertained, it can result to an epidemic beginning in the laboratory and may even reach the community," Duque said.

"This is the reason why we are being very strict in following our set of standards and criteria," added Duque.

Earlier, the DOH warned that opening the Marikina laboratory without appropriate certifications will expose more people to undue harm.

The DOH also assured Marikina that they are allies in the battle versus Covid-19 but that this should not come at the expense of the scientific process of accrediting laboratories.

The DOH has so far accredited 15 molecular laboratories as testing centers for the novel coronavirus, or Sars-CoV-2, the pathogen that causes Covid-19. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)

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