Bus firm offers walk-in and home-based COVID19 tests for travelers


Wanting to boost tourism and observe the tradition of Filipinos going home with their loved ones this Christmas Eve, Five Star Bus Lines built their own PCR testing laboratories inside their terminals to assist travelers get their required PCR testing permits before their trips to the provinces under Modified Community Quarantine. This is the bus company’s initiative to help government expand the number of PCR testing facilities to reach more Filipinos and increase the number of those tested.

“Travelers can now walk in and get themselves tested in Five Star bus lines terminals in Pasay City and Cubao in Quezon City thanks to our partnership with Hero Laboratories,” says Kian Cauton, spokesperson of Northern Luzon’s biggest bus company plying the Cagayan-Isabela routes.

Hero Laboratories is the newest PCR Testing center equipped with the latest state-of-the-art medical facilities authorized by the Department of Health (DoH) to conduct both RT-PCR swab test, the gold standard in COVID19 testing and the antigen swab test via nasal swabbing. Hero Laboratories also offer added convenience thru home-based tests conducted by the firm’s army of licensed medical technologists.

The RT-PCR Swab Test, the gold standard in COVID19 testing, is a molecular test that detects the virus’ genetic material while the Antigen Swab Test detects specific proteins that are unique on the virus’ surface. Both are conducted via nasal swabbing and results may be released in as fast as 30 minutes for the Antigen Swab Test and 24 hours for RT-PCR Swab Test. Introductory rates are as follows: the RT-PCR Swab Test’s rate is at Php 4,000 (from Php 5,000) for the 24-hour turnaround of results and Php 3,500 (from Php 4,500) for the release of results in 2-3 days, while the Antigen Swab Test is at Php 1,500 (from Php 2,300). Additional discounts may be offered to groups and businesses who may wish to get their employees tested prior to the holidays. All rates mentioned are exclusive of value-added taxes.

Cauton says the bus firm decided to build its own PCR testing facility to help the government in the fight against the pandemic. Recently, the Department of Tourism urged travelers to go to the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) and get their tests for half its costs.

“ Going there in PGH is okey, but for most travelers, especially our balikbayans, it’s kinda far and it takes time to reach PGH in Manila. With our Hero Laboratories’ PCR testing facilities, travelers can just have themselves tested and after getting their results, just book a trip home. This is our way of helping our country fight this pandemic,”Cauton adds.

While Metro Manila remains under general community quarantine, this does not necessarily mean that Filipinos are not allowed to travel to provinces under modified community quarantines. With Christmas just around the corner, surely, many Filipinos will observe tradition and travel to be with their loved ones before Christmas eve.

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