MANILA - Boracay tourists may now enter the island using saliva COVID-19 test as a travel requirement compliance, the government said Thursday.
The Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force approved the cheaper and non-invasive coronavirus test, which is currently being offered only by the Philippine Red Cross, as alternative to the nasopharyngeal swab RTPCR test.
The Department of Tourism welcomed the task force's decision and said it is also willing "to support funding for an RTPCR or gene expert machine" as the Malay town government may propose.
The DOT also recommended to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to allow persons below 15 and above 65 years old with a valid plane ticket to travel to Boracay since the island is under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
On Wednesday, the National Task Force Against COVID-19 said that that minors are allowed to travel domestically with their families even amid a surge in new infections.
"The NTF allows minors to travel with their families point to point. The only restriction is their movement within Metro Manila specially to malls and crowded areas consistent with the announcement of the MMDA," Ret. Gen. Restituto Padilla, spokesman of the NTF, had said.
"They may also avail of domestic air travel with their families specially during the season of lent and their academic break," he added.
The saliva test undergoes the same process as the gold standard RT-PCR test, the Red Cross earlier said.
Those who want to avail of the PRC's service have to book via book.redcross1158.com.
The humanitarian organization has partnered with malls to expand testing sites of the COVID-19 test priced at P2,000.
Thirty minutes prior to submission of saliva sample, a person undergoing the test is advised against eating, drinking, gargling, smoking or using vape.
The DOT reiterated its reminder to tourists and stakeholders to strictly observe minimum health and safety protocols.