Vendors from the 17 public markets in the city of Manila will be the first to get tested for the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) once the local government’s second molecular laboratory opens next week at the Sta. Ana Hospital.

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Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso on Monday ordered the city’s health and market officials to prioritize vendors to ensure their safety, as well as their customers.

“Binigyan na natin sila ng mask, binigyan na natin sila ng shield, pero hindi natin alam anong ginawa nila bago pumunta sa palengke at magtinda (We gave them face masks and face shields, but we do not know what they did before they went to the market to sell their goods). Now, we test them. At least we can guarantee the people that all those who are selling inside our market are safe individuals,” he said in a meeting with city government officials.

Domagoso said the officials must schedule a day where vendors of the public markets will undergo simultaneous swab testing for free.

“Matutuwa pa ang vendor, hindi sila gagastos para ma-test, kasi mahirap ang buhay. So, makakatipid na sila, panatag na sila, ‘yung consumer natin, panatag din (The vendors will be happy because they will not have to spend to get tested. Life is difficult. So, they will be able to save money, they will be reassured, and our consumers will be reassured as well),” he said.

After the vendors, the Manila mayor said they will proceed to test tricycle, pedicab, and jeepney drivers.

As of September 11, the city government has conducted a total of 25,119 swab tests and 55,135 serology tests, data showed.

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