DILG: COVID-19 test for nonessential travelers no longer mandatory
MANILA, Philippines — COVID-19 tests for nonessential travelers are no longer mandatory even in cross-province movements, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said in its latest memorandum circular.
Based on DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2021-035, travelers not included in the list of authorized persons outside of residence (APOR) would no longer be asked to present a negative COVID-19 test result in order to be allowed entry in a locality. Travel authorities from the Joint Task Force COVID Shield are also no longer required.
But DILG’s memo also stipulated that the movement of nonessential or non-APOR travelers will still be subject to regulations that a local government unit (LGU) opts to put in place, including requiring a COVID-19 test prior to travel.
“Testing shall not be mandatory for travelers EXCEPT when the LGU of destination […] requires testing as a requirement prior to travel, and such shall either be limited to Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test,” reads item 4.2.2 of DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2021-035.
“[…] or, if a Food and Drug Administration approved antigen is to be used, require that if upon entry to the LGU, the results yield positive, a confirmatory RT-PCR test shall be done while the traveler is under a 24-hour quarantine,” the memo further states.
According to DILG, in case the confirmatory test is not released within the quarantine period of 24 hours, the LGU would have no choice but to release the traveler, subject to strict observation by the barangay health emergency response team.
Moreover, the memo said quarantine is not required except for positive tests or when they show COVID-19 symptoms upon arrival to their destination.
Despite the easing of quarantine restrictions, DILG maintained that LGUs can refuse people who want to enter their jurisdiction for manifesting COVID-19 symptoms.
“LGUs may refuse the entry of persons who exhibit general symptoms of COVID-19 and/ or refuse to follow the established testing, and quarantine protocols, provided that such person is not a returning resident of the LGU of destination,” DILG added.
DILG said its memorandum is in reference to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) Resolutions 98-A and 101.
IATF Resolution No. 104, meanwhile, places the Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal under a general community quarantine (GCQ) “bubble.”
And while the DILG memo would make traveling to other places not difficult, it only covers areas outside Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.
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