Gov't urged: Allow antigen tests for emergency border entry


Posted at Jul 12 2021 12:02 PM

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MANILA - The president of Union of Local Authorities in the Philippines (ULAP) on Monday urged the national government to allow the use of antigen tests for travelers in an emergency trip.

Quirino Gov. Dakila Cua said it usually takes 2 days to get the results of RT-PCR tests, the gold standard for testing COVID-19 that is originally required by the inter-agency task force. However, there may be cases when someone "traveling under emergency will arrive" without being tested.

"Kaya nga ang sinasabi namin, kung ganoon at hindi nakapaghanda ang tao, i-allow na natin ang antigen upon arrival so that there is at least some form of screening at the border if the LGU thinks it has to be required," he told ANC's Headstart.

(This is why we are saying, if the traveler was not able to prepare, let's allow antigen testing upon arrival, so that there is at least some form of screening at the border if the LGU thinks its has to be required.)

Cua noted that local government units had requested the IATF to allow antigen testing, which is cheaper and gives results more quickly, for border control, but this was turned down. Yet, he recognized that there may have been some "confusion" among tourists as some LGUs still implemented this.

"The science really has to be sorted out. Sana payagan (Hopefully it will be approved)," he said.

Last week, the IATF announced that fully immunized individuals may present their vaccination cards or quarantine certificate instead of a negative swab result when travelling domestically. 

However, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, who also speaks for the task force, later clarified that LGUs "retain the discretion in requiring RT-PCR testing or accepting duly issued COVID-19 vaccination cards for allowed interzonal travel."