By Matthew Reysio-Cruz, Philippine Daily Inquirer
At least 277 tricycle drivers in Mandaluyong City appeared to be positive for the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) after undergoing rapid tests administered by the city government, an official told the Inquirer.
According to Jimmy Isidro, Mayor Carmelita “Menchie” Abalos’ chief of staff, as of Wednesday afternoon, 277 of 4,300 tricycle drivers who have been tested so far displayed the antibodies produced after the body is infected by a virus.
Isidro said the local government planned to test all of the 8,000 tricycle drivers in the city before allowing them to once again hit the streets, although under more stringent safety measures like a one-passenger limit. Because the rapid testing was one of the requirements set by the local government before they could be allowed to resume their routes, the drivers who tested positive had yet to ferry commuters.
They are now in isolation and scheduled to undergo confirmatory swab tests, which are more reliable but harder to procure.
Efficiency of swab tests
Unlike rapid tests which only detect the presence of antibodies, a swab test can definitively identify COVID-19 in a patient.
In a television interview, Abalos said the government was puzzled by the high number of positive cases among tricycle drivers in the city. Those who were tested so far came from different villages, making it highly unlikely that they belong to a single cluster of infections.
“You cannot trace how it was spread to them because our testing was random,” Abalos said. “These drivers are all from different barangays so we cannot pinpoint.”
The full report in today’s issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer