Davao requires PCR test on arrival at airport; City gov’t to shoulder cost of testing
DAVAO CITY –– The local government here has backpedaled on its policy of requiring all air travelers bound for the city to present a negative result for a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test before being allowed to board flights in their airports of origin.
Instead, the test result would be required from arriving passengers as they exit the Davao International Airport, said Mayor Sara Duterte.
Those who cannot present one will not be able to get out of the airport and will be ushered to a holding area to be swabbed for the RT-PCR test.
They can only be released from the holding area when their tests return negative for the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Waiting time for the result is up to two days.
“We ensure that travelers who enter the city are negative (of COVID-19 and) they just proceed with home quarantine. (This way) we will not be racing against time to do contact tracing,” Duterte explained.
Duterte said the changes are the result of their meeting with the
National Task Force on COVID-19 and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases.
The negative result for a PCR test, taken within 48 hours, was earlier required at the airport of origin beginning Monday, July 20, per the directive of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).
Although it will be at the passengers’ expense, the advantage of having a PCR test before flying to Davao City is avoiding the queue for swabbing at the airport and the wait for the result.
But Duterte reminded the public that those who underwent RT-PCR tests before traveling must have it within 72 hours from the flight schedule.
If accompanied by an adult, who has a negative PCR test result, children below 12 years old will not be required to have the test.
Duterte said the local government would shoulder the cost of the PCR test for air travelers arriving at the Davao airport, even for those who are not residents of the city “as a way of helping other local governments.”
The cost would be underpinned by some P6 million from the Bayanihan grant funds from the national government, Duterte added.
With the changes, Duterte has asked CAAP to require the airlines to first deplane passengers with negative PCR test results, followed by those who would have to undergo the test at the airport.
The airport’s holding area could accommodate up to 50 people and is equipped with beds, said Angel Sumagaysay, head of the Public Security and Safety Command Center.
With this new policy for arrivals at the airport, the local government also spruced up its health screening procedures for people entering the city through overland travel.
Duterte said there might be overland travelers who flew into other Mindanao airports hence able to skip the PCR testing required at the Davao airport.
Duterte added that authorities may conduct voluntary and random PCR testing for those arriving through overland travel.
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