DOH-7 recommends tri-cities to continue with RT-PCR test requirements
CEBU CITY, Philippines –The Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) has recommended that the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu maintain the requirement of real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing for travelers.
In a text message to CDN Digital, Dr. Mary Jean Loreche said that these highly urbanized cities (HUCs) would be recommended to keep the current policy in requiring RT-PCR for arriving passengers.
“For the other three highly urbanized cities, these cities being highly populated — it is best to still require a PCR negative test result or a rapid antigen test that is performed twice,” Loreche said.
“Because we want to ensure that we don’t have the arrivals (who are) positive cases added to the already high numbers in the three HUCs,” she said.
In the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Resolution 101, travelers are not required to undergo RT-PCR tests generally, but this is subject to the regulations of the local government unit (LGU) of destination.
If the LGU should decide to require one, this must only be limited to RT-PCR and no other tests must be requested with it.
Loreche said that with the rising coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the three cities, they could not risk adding more cases from travelers.
Cebu City has 3,044 active cases, Lapu-Lapu City has 888 active cases, and Mandaue City has 834 active cases of COVID-19 as of February 26, 2021.
The RT-PCR tests, with a substitute of two antigen test results, must continue to be required in order to avoid raising the number of cases further than it already is.
As for Cebu Province, their existing policy of requiring only medical certificates from travelers will continue as is.
“For the province, they will do the syndromic surveillance. Meaning, the medical certificate only to indicate no symptoms for Covid and well. But once the tourist does not feel well, to immediately seek medical consultation, then isolate and test and contact trace. It’s important to strictly implement the public health measures,” said Loreche.
The DOH-7 continues to remind the public that self-awareness and practice of the health protocols such as wearing face masks and shields, practicing social distancing, and frequent disinfection would keep the virus at bay.
Travelers, who now have a little more freedom to go around, must remember this and monitor themselves of any symptoms of the disease. /dbs
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