After 31 more of its staff contracted COVID-19, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Muntinlupa City will limit its operations.
The scaled down operations will run until July 18. According to Director Dr. Celia Carlos, the RITM will also be conducting more COVID-19 tests on staff, decontaminating facilities, and servicing equipment.
Carlos clarified that the limited operations do not mean closure.
“This does not mean we will be closing our doors. We will still be accepting specimens from admitted patients within our testing zone for the five days of the laboratory operation scale down,” she said in a 24 Oras interview.
Though still open, the RITM requested that samples from Regions IV-A and IV-B be sent to other COVID-accredited laboratories in the meantime.
The RITM serves as the country’s reference laboratory and largest COVID-19 testing center. It serves the areas of Metro Manila, Batangas, Luzon, Quezon, Marinduque, Occidental Mindoro, and Romblon.
The research institute previously limited its operations in April after 40 staff contracted COVID-19. With fewer people collecting samples, running tests, and verifying results, the Department of Health also saw fewer cases recorded.
Testing Czar Vince Dizon said the RITM’s limited operations are nothing to worry about, as the Philippines currently has 85 COVID-accredited laboratories nationwide.
As of July 16, 4 p.m., the Philippines has recorded 61,266 cases, with 21,440 recoveries and 1,643 deaths.