Bid to exempt fully vaxxed travelers from swab test rule awaits approval

·2 min read

THE Cebu City Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will endorse to the Office of the Mayor the proposal to exempt inbound domestic travelers who have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) from the swab test and other entry requirements in Cebu City.

Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera, EOC deputy chief implementer, said the proposal covers travelers who were fully vaccinated either in the Philippines or overseas.

An individual is fully vaccinated after receiving two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. Except for the single-dose Janssen Pharmaceuticals vaccine, all other available vaccines require a two-dose regimen.

Garganera said this will apply only to domestic travelers.

To be exempted, the fully vaccinated traveler must travel at least two weeks after the second dose was administered. Vaccine efficacy is expected to kick in two weeks after inoculation.

The traveler must carry his or her vaccination card and present it for validation.

Garganera said this will serve as an incentive to individuals who receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

EOC personnel will check each traveler’s documents upon arrival in the city’s ports.

“We are aware that there will be people who would take advantage on this. They will make fake (documents), but we have to incentivize those who are fully inoculated travelers,” Garganera told reporters.

He said he will also ask other local government units (LGUs) to adopt the same measure for Cebu City residents.

Since Mayor Edgardo Labella is on medical leave, Garganera said he will forward the proposal to both Labella and the office of Cebu City Acting Mayor Michael Rama.

Labella is expected to return to work by the end of the month.

Garganera said everything has to be treated urgently in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Garganera met with various agencies, including the Philippine Coast Guard and Department of the Interior and Local Government, as well as shipping lines on June 14, 2021 for the implementation of restrictions on travelers from the provinces of Bohol, Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental.

Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia issued Executive Order 22, requiring travelers from these three provinces to present a negative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) or rapid antigen test result upon entry in Cebu Province.

The RT-PCR test, or swab test, must have been taken 72 hours prior to departure for Cebu while the rapid antigen test must be taken at least 48 hours before travel.

This directive, which took effect at 12:01 a.m. of June 14, aims to prevent transmission of the Covid-19 virus from the three provinces, which are currently experiencing a surge in infections. (JJL)

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