Stringent COVID-19 testing will be crucial in reviving domestic tourism, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said Saturday.
“Maraming nagsasabi bakit kailangang may test? Alam mo sa flight namin nu’ng Wednesday (to Boracay), dalawa ang asymptomatic na nag-positive,” Puyat said on Teleradyo.
“Maganda na rin iyong sigurado kayo, at least iyong probability iyong lahat kayong nakasakay sa eroplano, lahat negative.”
Puyat said that about 4.2 million Filipinos working in the tourism sector have either been displaced or affected by the pandemic as governement restricted travel and businesses closed.
Boracay has been reopened to tourists outside Western Visayas on Wednesday in a bid to jumpstart the tourism industry there.
Part of the requirements set for tourists there is a negative result from an RT-PCR test.
“Ngayong October pinayagan naman ang mga tourists outside of Western Visayas at saka kahit nasa GCQ, pero kailangang may negative RT-PCR, lalo na sa Iloilo City at sa Bacolod ngayong naka-GCQ sila,” she said.
“Mas naging istrikto kasi everybody can go na, no age restrictions. Kailangan kasi maraming asymptomatic na positive.”
Puyat said government is also pushing for the use of antigen rapid testing to replace the RT-PCR kits.
“Iyon talaga ang pinupush namin, na-approve na ito ng IATF, pero lumabas sa WHO na we need to be cautious,” she said.
“Ipa-pilot test natin mga 3,000 samples sa Baguio City kay Mayor (Benjamin) Magalong. Itetest ang tao RT-PCR at antigen titingnan kung parehong results. Kung successful ito, ito ang gagamitin natin.”