MANILA - Resorts and other tourism destinations must require negative RT-PCR tests from tourists, and not antigen tests, unless the local government allows fully vaccinated individuals to do away with COVID-19 testing, Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo Puyat said Wednesday.
The Tourism chief gave the statement after reports that several resorts in the country have only been asking tourists for negative antigen tests.
"Dapat ngayon RT-PCR talaga," Romulo Puyat told ANC's Headstart.
(Now, we really have to require RT-PCR.)
"We've always asked doctors kung [puwedeng] antigen kasi mas mabilis ang results. Ang lumabas, maraming false negative," she said.
(We've always asked doctors if we could use antigen because results come out faster. But there are many false negative results.)
"Akala mo negative ka pero positive ka pala. That's why the DOH said hindi na muna antigen," she said.
(You think you're negative, but it turns out that you're positive. That's why the DOH said we can't use it for now.)
The DOT secretary did not mention if sanctions would be imposed against establishments that only require antigen tests.
The DOT will push for cheaper RT-PCR tests to make it more affordable to more tourists, especially families, Romulo Puyat said.
Local governments also have the option to allow fully vaccinated individuals to travel without tests, she said.
Several local government units are still requiring RT-PCR tests while waiting for the national government to roll out a new system that could authenticate vaccination cards, she said.