DOT pushes for antigen testing in resumption of air travel
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism is pushing for the use of rapid antigen testing once air travel resumes in the country despite an advisory from the World Health Organization against its use for screening travelers for the coronavirus disease( COVID-19).
During the House deliberations on the 2021 budget of the DOT on Thursday, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the department prefers antigen testing over the standard polymerase chain reaction tests (RT-PCR) tests because its results are processed faster.
“Mas gusto namin, ‘yung easier kasi ang maganda sa antigen testing lumalabas ‘yung result in 15 mins so pwede before boarding [a plane],” she said.
“Ang RT-PCR, you have to take it a few days, siyempre ‘yung results matagal bago dumating,” she added.
The Department of Health earlier said the WHO discourages the use of antigen tests for screening travelers, thus affecting the guidelines the department is drafting for the rapid testing.
‘Yung antigen po pag-aaralan pa ng WHO at saka ng DOH so we are pushing for that kasi ‘yun din po ‘yung hinihingi ng mga airlines para makapagtravel ang ating mga kababayan via airplane,” Puyat said.
The government earlier allowed the use of antigen tests as a substitute for the gold-standard real-time RT-PCR tests or swab tests when traveling to local destinations.
Puyat said the government has allowed the pilot testing of antigen tests in Baguio City as it needs further tests considering the WHO recommendation.
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