By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos
MANILA – Travelers can now enter the Philippines just by presenting an antigen test performed by healthcare professionals, Malacañang said Wednesday.
This, after members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) agreed on Wednesday night to allow the use of rapid antigen test taken by healthcare professionals as an entry requirement for travelers.
In a press statement, Acting Presidential Spokesperson and Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the antigen test must be “administered and certified by a healthcare professional in a healthcare facility, laboratory, clinic, pharmacy, or other similar establishments from the country of origin of the traveler.”
Under the existing IATF-EID Resolution 165, foreign travelers can enter the country, on conditions that they are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) and have acceptable proof of vaccination.
Foreigners are also required to present a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test taken within 48 hours or a negative laboratory-based antigen test taken within 24 hours prior to their arrival to the country.
Andanar said the IATF-EID, in its meeting held Wednesday night, also approved the acceptance and recognition of the national Covid-19 vaccination certificates of Bangladesh, Mexico, Panama and Slovak Republic, for purposes of arrival quarantine protocols, as well as for interzonal or intrazonal movement.
“This is in addition to other countries/territories/jurisdictions whose proofs of vaccination the IATF has already approved for recognition in the Philippines, and without prejudice to such other proofs of vaccination approved by the IATF for all inbound travelers,” he said.
Andanar said the Bureau of Quarantine, the Department of Transportation’s One-Stop-Shop, and the Bureau of Immigration have been directed to recognize only the proofs of vaccination thus, approved by the IATF.
According to Resolution 165 issued by the IATF-EID, the other acceptable proofs of Covid-19 vaccination include the World Health Organization International Certificate of Vaccination and Prophylaxis, VaxCertPH, national or state digital certificate of foreign country accepting VaxCertPH, and other proof of vaccination permitted by the IATF-EID.
The government has already allowed foreign travelers to visit the country without an entry exemption document (EED), so long as they comply with the applicable visa requirements and immigration entry and departure formalities.
Foreign travelers must have passports valid for a period of at least six months at the time of their arrival as well as valid tickets for their return journey to the port of origin or next port of destination not later than 30 days from date of arrival.
Prior to their arrival in the Philippines, they must obtain travel insurance for the Covid-19 treatment costs from reputable insurance providers, with a minimum coverage of USD35,000 for the duration of their stay in the country.
Foreigners who fail to fully comply with the conditions and requisites set by the IATF-EID shall be denied admission into the country and shall be subject to the appropriate exclusion proceedings. (PNA)