Philippines to scrap COVID-19 test rule for travelers with booster jab

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 27 2022 02:37 PM | Updated as of May 28 2022 02:52 PM

Domestic travelers prepare to board their flights at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminal 3 in Pasay City on April 7, 2022. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Domestic travelers prepare to board their flights at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminal 3 in Pasay City on April 7, 2022. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE)— The Philippines from May 30 will no longer require a pre-departure COVID-19 test for inbound fully vaccinated travelers who have at least one booster jab, Malacañang said Friday. 

Only unvaccinated, partially vaccinated travelers, and those whose vaccination could not be verified will be required to present negative RT-PCR or lab-based antigen test results taken within 48 hours before entry to the Philippines, said Acting Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Kris Ablan. 

Immigration spokesperson Dana Sandoval later on said that those without booster shots should also present negative COVID-19 test results.

Previously, all fully vaccinated individuals were required to present negative test results without the need to undergo facility-based quarantine.

Under the latest guidelines, the pre-departure testing requirement also exempts children ages 12 to 17 who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and those below 12 years old "regardless of vaccination status" as long as they are accompanied by their parents or guardians.

"A foreign child or children below 12 years of age who are not vaccinated for any reason whatsoever and traveling with their Filipino parent, shall follow the entry, testing, and quarantine protocols of their Filipino parent traveling with them," Ablan said in a press briefing.

He said unvaccinated children should be accompanied by their foreign or Filipino parents or guardians during facility-based quarantine.

Philippines, he said, will accept the following as valid COVID-19 cards or certificates: 

  • - World Health Organization's International Certificate of Vaccination and Prophylaxis
  • - VaxCertPH
  • - Any digital vaccine card or certificate of a foreign government recognized by the Philippines
  • - Other proof of vaccination permitted by the Inter-agency task force

"All inbound passengers, whether Filipinos or foreign nationals, shall register with the One Health Pass prior to arrival in the Philippines unless exempted under relevant IATF resolutions," the official's presentation read.

The inter-agency task force on COVID-19 also removed the medical insurance requirement for foreign travelers, said Ablan. 

"It makes it easier for travelers to come to our shores," he said. 

The country reopened its borders in April to all fully vaccinated foreign travelers. 

The Philippines logged less than 200 new COVID-19 cases for the 5th straight day on Thursday, according to the ABS-CBN Data Analytics group. 

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