News – PH – Philippines warned against stopping swab tests for tourists

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MANILA, Philippines – World Health Organization (WHO) representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe yesterday warned the government of plans to remove mandatory COVID-19 testing for domestic travelers

During a virtual briefing, the WHO official said the decision to remove COVID tests needs to be “carefully calibrated” as there are new variants and high levels of infection in some regions of the country

“From this scenario, a very careful decision must be made as to whether people are allowed to travel without tests (should be made) However, this needs to be considered very carefully (before) a decision can be made, as the process, as you know, is a risk-based process that often needs to be carefully evaluated, ”emphasized Abeyasinghe

The Department of Home Affairs and Local Government (DILG), Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III, had previously announced plans to streamline travel requirements – including the elimination of swab tests – to revive domestic tourism

The DILG official stated that COVID-19 tests should be limited to people who have symptoms, have been exposed to infected people, and have had the disease themselves

Instead of swab tests, travelers must perform clinical tests at the place of origin and destination

DILG believes that strict adherence to minimum health standards is enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19 This emerges from studies by the Ministry of Health (DOH)

If the proposal is approved by local executives, it will be submitted to the IATF for implementation

The Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism (DOT), Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, supported the proposal, citing the results of a recent survey in which 81 percent said different travel rules make traveling the most uncomfortable

“The DOT has long been committed to simplifying travel requirements as this is critical to making domestic tourism work,” said Puyat in a statement

On Monday, Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia issued an order no longer requiring local tourists to show a negative COVID-19 test in the province of Cebu before they are allowed to enter

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Department of Interior and Local Government, Philippines, Department of Tourism

News – PH – Philippines warned against lifting swab tests for tourists
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Source: https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2021/02/24/2079982/philippines-warned-vs-lifting-swab-tests-tourists