Makati City begins pooled testing — mayor

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 2) — Makati City started using pooled testing on its public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers and market vendors on Wednesday, making it the first local government in the country to employ the method.

Mayor Abby Binay said in a statement that at least 500 PUV drivers and market vendors from Comavena, Tablanza, Guadalupe Market, and Poblacion Market are expected to be swabbed within the day at the Makati Coliseum -- which has been converted to a “mass testing center.”

Binay added they are eyeing to take swab samples from 6,000 residents until next Tuesday.

Earlier this month, Makati City was chosen as the pilot testing site for private sector-led group Project Ark’s pooling method initiative, which is seen to significantly increase the testing capacity of the country using fewer resources. The mayor said the study results will be shared with other local governments.

“Today, Makati City is taking the first big step towards better, faster, and more implementable mass testing for COVID-19. I am proudly supporting this program because this is backed by scientific research,” the local official said.

“The results of this trial will have a big impact on local governments as well as businesses and countless industries in the years to come,” she pointed out.

Under pooled testing, samples collected from a group of people are tested in a batch using one test.

Officials have explained that if a batch of 10 people tests negative, that means they are all negative for the virus. If the pool is positive, it means one or more persons in that batch may be infected, so each individual will be tested again.