IATF allows use of antigen tests for asymptomatic domestic travelers
MANILA, Philippines — The government’s COVID-19 task force has allowed the use of antigen tests as a pre-boarding requirement of asymptomatic domestic travelers.
Antigen tests could be a substitute for the gold standard real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests, Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases spokesperson Harry Roque said on Tuesday.
“IATF allowed the use of the antigen test as a substitute for RT-PCR when it is used as a pre-boarding requirement for asymptomatic domestic tourists before departure and travel to tourist destinations or as a requirement upon entry at the place of destination if in accordance with the protocols of the local government unit,” Roque said in a statement.
IATF co-chairperson Karlo Nograles previously said they are studying the use of antigen tests in detecting SARS-CoV- 2, the virus that causes COVID-19 to further ramp up the country’s testing capacity.
According to the Department of Health, antigen tests use nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swab for the collection of specimens but it uses laboratory or health care settings for validation of results.
If antigen tests show positive results, it means there are “presumptive COVID-19” but if it yields negative results, it means COVID-19 is unlikely.
The new IATF directive comes as select areas in Northern Luzon are eyeing to reopen their doors to local tourists coming from areas with low COVID-19 cases.
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