Manila opens drive-thru COVID-19 testing site

Deep into the pandemic, curbing the spread of COVID-19 still remains a challenge as the number of positive cases continue to rise. The City of Manila, in a major move to ramp up its testing capacity, has just launched its free drive-thru COVID-19 testing center on Wednesday, July 15. 

The center is situated near the Andres Bonifacio Shrine across from the Manila City Hall and is open from Monday-Friday, 8AM to 5PM.

Besides catering to Manila residents, the testing site is also open for non-residents of Manila. 

Manila drive-thru COVID-19 test - Free testImage credit: Manila Public Information Office

Bring a valid ID

The testing site is marked by a sign bearing “Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing Area,” as shown in this drone shot posted by Mayor Isko on his Twitter account.


He added that before lining up to get tested, you just need to bring a valid ID. 

Manila drive-thru COVID-19 test - bring valid ID
Image credit: @IskoMoreno

You also don’t need to worry what type of vehicle you should be in, as people in all vehicles are welcome here. “Ang pwedeng dumaan dito? Dalawang gulong, motorized, non-motorized; tatlong gulong… o apat na gulong. Any John Does and Mary, (Those who can drive-thru here? Two-wheeled, motorized, non-motorized; three-wheeled …. or four-wheeled. Any John Does and Mary.)” said Moreno in an interview.

Manila drive-thru COVID-19 test - free rapid testsImage credit: Manila Public Information Office

Blood samples will be taken from visitors seeking tests

Manila drive-thru COVID-19 test - blood sampleImage credit: Manila Public Information Office 

The deployed medical personnel will procure blood samples of riders who are coming by for a test. The samples will then be processed by the new testing machines from the US healthcare and medical device company Abbott. 

Currently, the City Government of Manila has four machines that can conduct 89,600 tests in a month. 

Manila drive-thru COVID-19 test - Abbott machineImage credit: @IskoMoreno

The testing machines are said to have an accuracy rate of 99.6% specificity (the ability to identify those without COVID-19) and 100% sensitivity (the ability to identify those with COVID-19). 

However, people who test positive after their samples are examined with the machines must still undergo confirmatory swab tests.  

“We will utilize the recently-purchased machines. These have accuracy of 99.6% for specificity and 100% for sensitivity. This is part of our continuing massive testing, including every driving Manileño who will pass by Lawton,” Moreno confirmed. 

Those without vehicles or who can’t drop by will be referred to nearby hospitals

Those without a vehicle or cannot drive to the free testing site will be referred to nearby Manila hospitals: Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center, Ospital ng Sampaloc, and Ospital ng Maynila. If one gets a positive result, a swab test should follow. 

Second drive-thru site at Quirino Grandstand

Video credit: Isko Moreno Domagoso 

To answer the growing demand for free testing, the City Government of Manila has opened a second free drive-thru testing site at the Quirino Grandstand. Starting Monday, July 20, both Manila and non-Manila residents can choose to line up either in the testing site at the Andres Bonifacio Monument or at the Quirino Grandstand.

This second testing site is also open from 8AM to 5PM, Monday to Friday. Same rule applies, all you need to bring is a valid ID.

isko moreno calls for covid testing donations
Image credit: Isko Moreno

According to Mayor Isko Moreno, they will see to it that the drive-thru tests remain free to the public as much as they can.

Free COVID-19 tests in Manila City

This initiative from the City Government of Manila is indeed laudable, as COVID-19 tests should be accessible for everyone including those who cannot afford them. 

We hope other local governments can boost their testing capacities, and relieve the financial burden of COVID-19 tests on their citizens. 

Also check out: 

Cover image adapted from: Wikimedia Commons, Manila Public Information Office 

Enjoying The Smart Local Philippines? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more stories like this.