DOH recommends removal of RT-PCR tests for local tourists


The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday recommended the removal of Reverse Transcription – Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test results requirements for travelers to local tourist spots. 

DOH’s Health-Epidemiology Bureau Director Alethea De Guzman said local government units (LGU) could replace the RT-PCR requirement for tourists who will be visiting their places with “exposure screening.” 

Under exposure screening, a person will be checked for Covid-19 symptoms and be asked if he or she has any recent exposure to a probable or confirmed case.

“Our experts say this kind of screening can identify 90 percent of suspected Covid-19 cases,” De Guzman said in an online interview with PTV. 

De Guzman, however, stressed their position on the matter is only recommendatory. 

“Of course, we respect naman po our LGUs, [that they] are able to implement their own protocols, Some of them, they do require RT-PCR testing regardless of vaccination status while others will actually allow looser protocols for the fully vaccinated,” De Guzman said. 

“This will depend on the discretion of the LGU,” she added. 

Many tourist operators noted how the cost of the RT-PCR test result, which is being required by some LGUs, is prohibiting many local travelers from visiting local tourist destinations. 

The Department of Tourism (DOT) is currently providing subsidies for local tourists to minimize their RT-PCR expenses.

Image courtesy of Lyn Resurreccion

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