PUERTO GALERA, Mindoro Oriental: In anticipation of tourists, both local and foreign, in the coming summer months, this resort municipality recently inaugurated its own molecular laboratory for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). It is the first one to be built in a municipality in the province.

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Mayor Rocky Ilagan inaugurates the new molecular laboratory in Barangay Honduras, Puerto Galera in Mindoro on Dec.1, 2020. PHOTO BY IRE JOE V.C. LAURENTE

Mayor Rocky Ilagan led the blessing and opening of the Puerto Galera Molecular Laboratory in Barangay Honduras beside the Puerto Galera District Hospital. He said the facility would boost the dwindling tourism industry of the municipality as this would ensure that Puerto Galera and its people are “safe and Covid-19-free.”

“Because of the pandemic, we saw a decline in our tourism, which is the main industry here. The molecular laboratory would ensure our visitors that we have the necessary facility to address the threat of Covid-19 infections,” the mayor said.

Municipal Health Officer Dr. Rodel Gabayan Jr., clarified, however, that the protocol of requiring a negative swab test result for arriving tourists still remained. He said the laboratory is for possible infections while in Puerto Galera.

Ilagan said the laboratory is using the GenXpert machine for reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction tests. They are just waiting for the License to Operate certification from the Department of Health expected in January.

The local chief executive also thanked Mindoro Oriental First District Rep. Doy Leachon for allocating an additional P10M for the operation of the new laboratory.

Puerto Galera has been Covid-19-free for three straight months, Ilagan reported.

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