Tourism dept announces free RT-PCR tests for domestic travelers

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 01 2021 09:13 AM | Updated as of Nov 01 2021 09:26 AM

A Baguio City health frontliner checks the papers of arriving tourists on February 05, 2021. The Inter–Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases is allowing tourists to travel to Baguio for leisure visits. Jong Gasmena, ABS-CBN News
A Baguio City health frontliner checks the papers of arriving tourists on February 05, 2021. The Inter–Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases is allowing tourists to travel to Baguio for leisure visits. Jong Gasmena, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Domestic travelers can now avail of free confirmatory swab tests or RT-PCR tests, the Department of Tourism (DOT) chief said Monday.

The agency previously subsidized travelers' RT-PCR tests for P750 versus its original cost of P3,500 in hospitals and testing centers, according to Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.

"We decided to subsidize 100 percent so starting Nov. 1, zero na...Subsidized na ng DOT and TPB [Tourism Promotions Board], wala na silang babayaran for RT-PCR swab," she told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

(We decided to subsidize tourists' RT-PCR 100 percent, so starting Nov. 1, it would cost zero...It's now subsidized by the DOT and TPB.)

"Kailangan lang nila ipakita na they are in a DOT-accredited hotel at may return ticket kasi we can only pay for tourists."

(They just need to present that they would be staying in a DOT-accredited hotel and their return ticket because we can only pay for tourists.)

Aside from the Philippine Children's Medical Center, the agency is also looking to tie up with other government hospitals for the fully subsidized COVID-19 tests, Romulo-Puyat said.

"Marami kasing gusto magtravel pero namamahalan sila, kahit na yung P750 napakamahal daw. That’s why we subsidized," she said.

(Many people want to travel but they can't afford the fee, even the P750.)

Several tourist destinations such as Baguio now accept travelers of all ages, she added.

The agency earlier said fully inoculated tourists are no longer required to present swab tests, only their vaccination card.

"By the way, no age restrictions, matagal na naming hiniling sa IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force Against COVID-19) kasi Filipinos travel as a family...Ang staycation sa Metro Manila, no age restriction din sila," she said.

(By the way, there are no age restrictions, we'd been appealing to the IATF because Filipinos travel as a family...Staycation in Metro Manila also doesn't have age restriction.)

The agency continues to work on travel bubbles with other countries, Romulo-Puyat said.

"We're asking now that as more and more people are being vaccinated, baka pwede mas mababa ang quarantine," she said.

(We're asking now for shorter quarantine period as more and more people are being vaccinated.)

Some 27.3 million Filipinos have been fully-vaccinated while 31.9 million have received their first dose as of Saturday, according to government data.

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