Gov’t approves antigen tests to screen domestic tourists
MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has allowed antigen tests to be used for screening local tourists without coronavirus symptoms as a “preboarding requirement” or those who develop symptoms while at their destination.
But the IATF stressed that antigen tests should be used only in the absence of RT-PCR or swab tests that “remain … the gold standard for confirmatory testing.”
The use of antigen tests in specific circumstances was discussed as tourist spots such as Tagaytay and Baguio cities prepare to welcome local tourists from areas with a low number of new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.
Domestic tourists are required to test negative for COVID-19 before being allowed to enter a tourist destination and stay in pre-arranged accommodations.
In a statement, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that antigen tests could be used as “a preboarding 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.”
Under IATF Resolution No. 69 released on Monday, the Department of Health required a confirmatory antigen test to be done three to five days after the initial test.
“Antigen testing may likewise be used in the testing of domestic tourists who turn symptomatic at the place of destination, if without RT-PCR capacity,” the IATF said.
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