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IATF to discuss removing swab test requirement for fully vaccinated tourists — DOT chief Puyat

The inter-agency task force for the management of emerging infectious diseases (IATF) is looking at the possibility of easing travel restrictions for those fully vaccinated against COVID-19, an official said Monday.

According to Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, the IATF will meet later on Monday to discuss the possibility of waiving the swab test results for travelers who already received both doses of the vaccine.

“May IATF meeting kami this afternoon, ang pinag-uusapan kung paano, let’s say kung fully vaccinated naman, baka, baka hindi na kailangan mag-RT-PCR, pero ‘yun ay pinaguusapan,” she said during the Laging Handa virtual briefing.

[We have an IATF meeting this afternoon. We are discussing how, let’s say for those fully vaccinated, maybe we can waive the RT-PCR requirement, but that is still under discussion.]

The government has allowed leisure travel for all ages from the NCR Plus bubble — Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and Bulacan — to tourist destinations under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

Travelers below 18 years of age and those above 65 are required to present a negative RT-PCR test result for all tourist destinations, which is a requirement for all tourists by some local governments.

Puyat earlier this month said it is optimistic that quarantines will no longer be required for fully vaccinated tourists in the coming months.

The DOT has also extended its subsidy program, shouldering 50% of the RT-PCR tests of qualified tourists in partnership with the Philippine Children’s Medical Center and the Philippine General Hospital. — RSJ, GMA News