Boracay to waive swab tests for tourists once 100 pct vaccination rate reached: DOT

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 24 2021 12:38 PM | Updated as of Oct 27 2021 10:03 AM

A resident wearing a face mask walk along a beach in Boracay on Oct. 2, 2020, the first day of the opening of the island to tourists during the COVID-19 pandemic. AFP
A resident wearing a face mask walk along a beach in Boracay on Oct. 2, 2020, the first day of the opening of the island to tourists during the COVID-19 pandemic. AFP

MANILA - Boracay island will waive confirmatory swab tests for fully vaccinated visitors when it reaches 100 percent COVID-19 inoculation rate next month, the Department of Tourism said Sunday.

Some 91.09 percent of tourism workers and 62.78 percent of the island's 24,451 eligible population have been vaccinated as of Sunday, according to the agency.

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A total of 11,668 tourism workers on the island have been fully vaccinated, it said. Western Visayas has so far recorded an inoculated 63.26 percent of its tourism workers as of Oct. 21, it added.

Aklan Gov. Florencio Miraflores has committed to accept visitors with proof of full vaccination instead of RT-PCR tests when island residents are fully vaccinated, said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.

"We believe that with the 100 percent inoculation of the island’s workers, the confidence of more Filipinos to travel will be restored, and that the island will be back on its feet sooner than anticipated,” she said.

Some 6,702 tourists visited Boracay in September, and 17,995 in the first three weeks of October since the modified enhanced quarantine quarantine (MECQ) on the island was lifted, according to the DOT.

The figures represent an increase of 253 percent and 1,243.6 percent, respectively, from the same periods last year, it added.

"More than the foregone revenue, the DOT is deeply concerned with the impact of the pandemic on the employment of the island’s workers who either have been laid off or are now working on irregular work schedules," Puyat said.

The Philippines has so far fully vaccinated 25.1 million individuals while 29.3 million have received their first dose, according to government data. The vaccination drive kicked off March 1.

A total of 2,751,667 confirmed COVID-19 cases have been recorded in the country, of which 63,051 are active, as of Sunday, according to the health department.

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