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PH travel protocols streamlined

Republika

The Inter-Agency Task Force has given the thumbs up for uniform travel protocols across all local government units with regards to quarantine requirements and documentary requirements.

In an online press briefing, Palace spokesperson Harry Roque said that the state task force had approved the guidelines for air, sea and land travel, created by the interior and local government department.


The IATF Resolution No. 101 dictates that travelers must still submit to Covid19 testing if the LGU–which includes the provincial government, component cities and the heads of the highly urbanized cities–they are traveling to require it. In such cases, only an RT-PCR test will be accepted.


However, travelers no longer need to go on quarantine unless they show Covid19-like symptoms upon their arrival. They likewise no longer need to secure a travel authority or travel pass from the police’s Joint Task Force Covid Shield. This applies as well to health certificates.


Despite this change in guidelines, the task force still urged the public to observe minimum health standards.


“Health assessment of passengers, supervised by medical doctors, shall be mandatory upon entry in the port/terminal and exit at point of destination,” said the IATF.

In a separate statement, the tourism department said that the simplification of required documents would spur domestic travel and be beneficial to the recovery of the industry. Those still required to take RT-PCR tests may also avail of the government’s subsidy program.


In line with this, the IATF instructed all ports and terminals across the country to provide passengers with adequate isolation facilities and a referral system for symptomatic travelers to the care of the Bureau of Quarantine or LGUs.


The University of the Philippines’ OCTA Research team expressed concern over these uniform travel protocols given the presence of new variants within the country.

“Some areas are doing well, and some areas are not doing well,” said OCTA Research’s Dr. Guido David. “We have to be careful with border controls. We should be concerned. Halimbawa may tourists from NCR na pupunta sa Cebu, we already know na may variant na kumakalat dun, so we should be vigilant.”


Previously, local governments required travelers wishing to enter their territories to present a negative swab test, among other documents and quarantine, to curb the virus’ spread.


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