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News Article

New Normality Calls for More COVID-19 Testing

By Miriam Bello | Mon, 08/31/2020 - 14:33

In Mexico City, Governor Claudia Sheinbaum has asked companies with more than 30 workers to apply COVID-19 tests to at least five percent of their workforce. Among the “new normality” guidelines in Mexico City, companies have to comply with basic sanitary measures, such as wearing masks, disinfecting of spaces and social distancing of at least 1.5m.

Governor Sheinbaum encouraged companies to establish schedules and staggered working days to protect collaborators from contagion. Moreover, companies are asked to register on the state’s website to make sure they comply with all the recommended measures to protect citizens.

COVID-19 testing means an additional expenditure for companies as public health providers cannot administer tests without a medical prescription. To address this situation, Mexican laboratories have already developed flexible options to comply with this requirement. During an Interview with CEO and Founder of Amunet Fernando Ruiz explained that when the laboratory realized the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic in different parts of the world, it decided to stock up with tests to have enough supply for when the virus hit Mexico. “Our COVID-19 test is for professional use. This test will be sold to companies so it can be applied by a medical professional,” explained Ruiz. “These products are made for our population, with an understanding of their context to deliver a solution that best suits their needs.”

Clinical laboratory Vianto is another company ready to address this requirement. “We have created a service in which we go to the client’s offices and apply the test right there to avoid the need for collaborators to take public transportation. If an employee is presenting symptoms, we can do the test at their home to avoid exposure,” explained Ramiro Tapia, Medical Director of Vianto, during an interview with MBN. Moreover, Tapia said that given the increase in COVID-19 test demand, Vianto services grew as the private sector is the largest supplier of these tests. “We have a daily processing capacity of 750 PCR COVID-19 tests with a maximum 48-hour result delivery, although we usually have results ready by the next day.”

Despite this new-normal requirement, last week, Deputy Minister Hugo López-Gatell said that companies cannot ask their employees to take the test before going back to work. “There is no scientific justification for asking workers for a COVID-19 test or an antibody test as a kind of guarantee that they can safely return to their workplace.”

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Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst