BAGUIO City is planning to launch this week the use of antigen self-test kits for coronavirus to speed up case detection after national authorities reported the high probability of community transmissions of the more contagious Omicron variant.

“Our city could be the pilot site for this do-it-yourself testing kits that are widely used in the US, Canada, Europe and Singapore,” Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong said in a statement late Saturday.

He said testing czar Vivencio B. Dizon has expressed support to the plan, which will be presented for approval by the national task force managing the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Mr. Magalong said the city government is aiming to rollout a program, tentatively this week, that will inform residents on the “easy-to-use home testing method.” 

The self-test kits will help in the early detection of cases, which is currently reliant on the capacity of laboratories for RT-PCR testing.

“Aside from expediting testing, self-tests work to reduce the chances of spreading the virus as (potentially) infected persons could undertake their own tests in the comforts of their homes without having to go to health facilities which exposes other people to the health risk,” the city government said.