Philippines allows use of antigen tests as COVID-19 detector for local air travel

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 08 2020 01:44 PM

MANILA — Antigen tests will be used to screen local air travelers for COVID-19, Malacañang said Tuesday as the Philippines kept relaxed virus restrictions in place for most parts of the country.

Antigen tests will be used as substitute for the real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests as a pre-boarding requirement for asymptomatic domestic tourists, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

"Antigen testing may likewise be used in the testing of domesitc tourists who turn symptomatic at the place of destination, if without RT-PCR capacity," the government's pandemic task force said in a resolution.

Antigen tests are a type of diagnostic test designed for the rapid detection of coronavirus. Unlike the RT-PCR tests, antigen tests may not detect all active infections.

The antigen tests may also be required upon entry at the place of destination in the Philippines depending on protocols of local government units, Roque said.

The government, however, emphasized that RT-PCR tests remain as the "gold standard" for COVID-19 testing in the Philippines.

The Philippines has tested over 2.5 million people for COVID-19 since the pandemic started. As of Monday, the country has confirmed 238,727 COVID-19 cases, of which 49,931 are active.