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ICTSI braces up for new ‘normal’




Enrique Razon Jr. (Philippine Primer)

To ensure the protection and safety of his companies’ employees, business tycoon Enrique Razon Jr. announced that he is investing in the mass testing of employees at his group’s port terminal and integrated gaming resort businesses to prepare manpower resource for the “new normal” amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a statement, Razon said that the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) and Bloomberry Resorts Corp.’s Solaire Resort and Casino recently started rapid antibody testing of its employees, seeking to complement the government’s thrust to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our employees are our number one asset. As we try to overcome this most difficult phase and into the ‘new normal’, we do so without letting our guard down,” said Razon.

“Consistent with our aim of helping the country’s health infrastructure in tackling the extent of the pandemic, our decision to invest in mass testing will give us, our employees, and their loved ones the reassurance that they will have a safe working environment, which ICTSI and Solaire are well-known for,” he added.

Initially, about 2,500 employees comprising the skeletal staff will be tested, as the ICTSI and Solaire teamed up with the Tropical Disease Foundation (TDF) and Ayala Healthcare Holdings Inc. (AC Health) to screen employees for the COVID-19 virus.

Razon noted that the tests will be both for those who have been working from home and for those who have been working at the front lines to help keep the economy moving.

The mass testing of Razon’s employees is being done using a two-pronged strategy proposed by health experts – first, rapid testing will be done through point-of-care test kits, a diagnostic tool that measures antibodies from a blood sample in 10 to 15 minutes.

In conjunction with required confirmatory testing, a second test using traditional kits, processed through a real-time polymerase chain reaction or RT-PCR machine is likewise conducted to detect the presence of the actual COVID-19 within days.

To augment the much needed supply of the government for testing COVID-19, BCFI recently procured 100,000 test kits from China and South Korea approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).