Free swab tests for returning Filipino travelers at Mactan Cebu Int’l Airport
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Filipinos from abroad can now avail of free real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests at the Mactan airport.
The Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV), in a press release, announced that free swab tests are being offered at the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA).
Those who can avail of the services are returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), the statement read.
The free RT-PCR tests were initiated by OPAV together with the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) and airport authorities from MCIA.
Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, spokesperson of DOH-7, said they have started running swab tests for free for incoming Filipino travelers from abroad last March 31, 2021.
“This move to test upon arrival and for free unburdens the OWWA (Overseas Workers and Welfare Administration). (It) also (keeps them) from spending so much on their hotel stays,” said Loreche.
MCIA already has its own Covid-19 testing facility, located at the arrivals area of Terminal 2.
As of April 2, Loreche said the team from DOH-7 deployed specifically for this initiative has already collected a total of 1,061 swab samples. Tests results are usually produced within 24 to 48 hours, added Loreche.
Unless they will test positive for the virus, the passenger can proceed to their destination, DOH-7 said.
OPAV head, Secretary Michael Dino, said the free swab tests they are offering at the airport are in line with the directives of President Rodrigo Duterte to expedite the return of incoming Filipino travelers from overseas.
“We (also) hope this will continue to help decline our cases in Cebu and the whole of Visayas since MCIA is one of the major aviation hubs,” added Dino.
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