DOH: IATF lets LGUs decide on requiring COVID-19 test from fully vaccinated travelers
MANILA, Philippines — The national government’s pandemic task force has agreed to leave the discretion to local government units (LGUs) on whether to require fully vaccinated travelers to present negative COVID-19 test results, the Department of Health (DOH) said Friday.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) and LGUs have come up with this arrangement during a meeting on Thursday.
“Napagkasunduan na sa IATF kahapon, and different local government organizations were there. Napag-usapan na sinasabing ang Resolution 101 and 124-B ay pareho pa rin at wala namang contradictions at ipapatupad,” she told an online media briefing when asked of the final protocols for interzonal travel.
(It was agreed in an IATF meeting yesterday attended by different local government organizations. They agreed that Resolution 101 and 124 B are the same and there are no contradictions.)
“Ibig sabihin, ‘yung recognition ng fully vaccinated, gagawin pa rin ‘yan, but for those local governments na mayroon silang protocol na pagte-test, kung sa tingin nila based on risk assessment nila ay kailangang i-test ang kanilang mga travelers, binibigay pa rin ang authority sa kanila. ‘Yun ang napagkasunduan,” she added.
(This means that the recognition for fully vaccinated will still be made, but if local governments think they still need to test their travelers based on risk assessment, they are still given authority to do so.)
Under Resolution No. 124-B, the IATF said interzonal travelers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 may only be required to present proof of complete vaccination instead of a negative test result.
However, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Wednesday that pending review of Resolution 124-B, the country will revert to previous IATF protocols under Resolution No. 101, indicating that COVID-19 testing for travelers is not mandatory unless the concerned LGU makes it a requirement.
In a separate announcement, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said LGUs may accept a vaccination card as an alternative to RT-PCR testing requirements.
These may be issued by a legitimate vaccinating establishment or authority, whether local or foreign; or certificate of quarantine completion showing the holder’s vaccination status as may be issued by the Bureau of Quarantine, whichever is applicable.
He said the vaccinations cards shall be enough proof of vaccination. Any individual who presents forged or falsified vaccination cards shall be dealt with in accordance with the law, he added.
He also said that the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices may verify the vaccination status of spouses, children and/or parents of overseas Filipino workers traveling with them.
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