Outbound travelers no longer need to test negative for COVID-19: Palace

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 23 2020 11:43 AM | Updated as of Oct 23 2020 02:26 PM

Outbound travelers no longer need to test negative for COVID-19: Palace 1
Travelers enter the NAIA Terminal 3 in Pasay City, March 20, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA— Travelers headed abroad are no longer required to test negative for COVID-19 before their trip, Malacañang said Friday, as authorities sought to boost the pandemic-battered economy. 

The inter-agency task force leading the pandemic response, in its meeting on Thursday, approved "the lifting of the pre-boarding testing requirement for outbound Filipino travelers," said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. 

This amends an earlier IATF resolution that required a negative antigen test result taken within 24 hours before departure as a pre-boarding requirement, he said in a statement. 

"Wala na pong antigen requirement sa lahat po na bibiyahe sa labas ng bansa," Roque added in a Laging Handa public briefing. 

(There is no longer an antigen requirement for all outbound travelers.)

The IATF earlier allowed non-essential overseas travel, potentially increasing customers for Philippine carriers that have suffered amid the pandemic. 

Travelers still "have to comply with requirement of destination," Roque said in a text message. 

Several countries continue to implement travel restrictions, including a ban on nationals from places with high COVID-19 incidence and requiring negative COVID-19 tests from inbound travelers. 

The Philippines is forecast to see a 6.9 percent economic contraction this year, the World Bank has said, the biggest since the 1980s and worse than the government's projected 5.5 percent decline. 

It has been gradually reopening the economy to allow more businesses to resume operations and more people to go back to work, but partial restrictions in and around the capital Manila remain to keep the virus spread in check. 

- With a report from Reuters