DOT bats for price cap on RT-PCR, antigen tests as some tourism spots reopen
MANILA, Philippines — As more tourism spots reopen in a bid to cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Tourism is batting for a price cap on reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and antigen tests.
In a statement on Tuesday, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said that imposing a price cap on such tests will make traveling “an affordable option to all.”
“While the DOT acknowledges and puts paramount importance on the safety of visitors, locals, and the tourism workforce, the Department likewise finds it imperative to address the urgent need to impose a price cap on these accepted COVID-19 testing methods to promote domestic tourism, which in turn can generate employment and stimulate economic recovery,” Puyat said.
The DOT’s proposal comes after more tourism destinations decided to open its borders to tourists.
Baguio City previously reopened its borders to tourists from the rest of Luzon, including Metro Manila, last Oct. 23. But before entering the summer capital, tourists will have to undergo an antigen test, which costs roughly around P1,000.
Boracay Island, meanwhile, reopened its doors to tourists from all regions last Oct. 1. Visitors who wish to visit were required to have a negative RT-PCR test result not earlier than 48 hours before they travel.
If a tourist from Metro Manila wishes to visit Boracay, he/she may have to spend P4,000 to P12,000 for an RT-PCR test.
Puyat said that in a bid to attract more travelers, the DOT has asked for cooperation among the Department of Health-accredited testing facilities to make the RT-PCR and antigen tests more affordable.
“We likewise appeal to the accredited test centers to provide budget-friendly but credible COVID-19 diagnostic tests,” Puyat said.
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