Philippines OKs use of antigen test as requirement for incoming travelers

The Philippine government has allowed presentation of antigen COVID-19 test result as requirement for entry of travelers provided it is certified by a healthcare professional, Malacanang said Thursday.

Presidential Communications Secretary and acting presidential spokesperson Martin Andanar said the new policy was provided under the resolution issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, the government’s policy-making body in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Wednesday night, April 6, 2022, allowed the use of rapid antigen tests for entry requirements in the Philippines as long as they are administered and certified by a healthcare professional in a healthcare facility, laboratory, clinic, pharmacy, or other similar establishments from the country of origin of the traveler,” Andanar said.

Andanar said the IATF also approved the acceptance and recognition of the national COVID-19 vaccination certificates of Bangladesh, Mexico, Pakistan and Slovak Republic for purposes of arrival quarantine protocols, as well as for interzonal/intrazonal movement.

This is in addition to other countries/territories/jurisdictions whose proofs of vaccination the IATF has already approved for recognition in the Philippines, and without prejudice to such other proofs of vaccination approved by the IATF for all inbound travelers.

The IATF has also directed the Bureau of Quarantine, the Department of Transportation – One-Stop-Shop and the Bureau of Immigration to recognize only the proofs of vaccination thus approved by the IATF.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III earlier said that the country is likely to remain under Alert Level 1 — the least restrictive among alert levels — until President Rodrigo Duterte steps down from office on June 30.

Under Alert Level 1, intrazonal and interzonal travel shall be allowed without regard to age and comorbidities. All establishments, persons, or activities, are allowed to operate, work, or be undertaken at full on-site or venue/seating capacity provided it is consistent with minimum public health standards. –Llanesca T. Panti/KBK, GMA News

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