Ilocos Norte drops COVID-19 test for fully vaccinated starting Valentine’s Day
LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte — Ilocos Norte province is easing its border protocols by dropping COVID-19 testing requirements for fully vaccinated individuals beginning Monday or Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14.
The executive order issued by Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc on Feb. 12 will cover fully vaccinated, asymptomatic residents, tourists, and authorized persons outside residence (APOR).
Returning residents, local and foreign tourists, and even minors are free to enter the province without the need to undergo COVID-19 testing; however, minors must be traveling with their fully vaccinated parents, the governor said.
Tourists must also show a confirmed booking from accredited accommodation or travel agency, according to the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office (INTO).
Mandatory quarantine was also scrapped for fully vaccinated returning residents but they are advised to conduct self-monitoring and report any manifestation of any COVID-19 related symptoms.
Manotoc said that unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals must show a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result taken 60 hours prior to travel to the province. They can also show a negative antigen test which could be taken at the provincial borders.
They will be exempted from the requirement if they could show a medical clearance issued by government health officials from their place of origin, added Manotoc.
The roll back on the testing requirement was made as the provincial government noted a “marked decrease” in COVID-19 cases in the past weeks, said Manotoc. He said that the situation appeared to be the “beginning of the end of the Omicron variant surge.”
COVID-19 testing requirements and internal movement were tightened last January 5 after the province experienced a wave of COVID-19 cases brought by the Omicron variant.
Data from the Department of Health showed that 26 Omicron variant cases were traced in Ilocos Norte.
On Saturday, at least 18 individuals tested positive for the disease which pushed the total number of active COVID-19 cases to 1,599, data from the provincial government showed.
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