Aklan gov’t: COVID-19 testing still required for Boracay tourists
AKLAN, Philippines — The provincial government of Aklan on Wednesday said visitors to the resort island of Boracay are still required to submit a negative swab test for COVID-19 even if already fully vaccinated as shown by their vaccination cards.
Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores said the local government will only consider exempting fully vaccinated tourists from the testing rule if there a reliable vaccine validation system is already in place, as discussed in a recent meeting of the regional Interagency Taskforce on Emerging Infectious Diseases.
“We decided that until such time, that there is a uniformity or a validated vaccination card, we will wait for the meantime, once that is available, then we will also follow those guidelines,” Miraflores said in a press briefing in Malay, Aklan.
Miraflores noted that vaccine cards are harder to validate than RT-PCR test results as there is almost no way to validate the former, while the latter could be verified by a molecular laboratory.
“It’s just a generic card that is issued by vaccination sites, he said.
When asked if they would be changing their policy once a high vaccination rate is achieved, Miraflores said it is not necessary.
“We can do that even before the [vaccination rate] target once we have a system of validation, yung lang naman ang hinahanap namin eh, (that’s all we are looking for) so we can be protected from those who fake their vaccination cards,” he said.
Baguio City is the first tourist destination in the country to waive the swab test requirement in favor of vaccination cards after it achieved a vaccination rate of more than 40 percent, according to the DOT.
The Department of Health (DOH) said it is now for local government units to decide if they will require COVID-19 testing for tourists while the national government is still trying to craft a policy on the use of vaccination cards.
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