Cebu drops RT-PCR test for boosted travelers

·2 min read

FOREIGN and local travelers to Cebu who are fully vaccinated against coronavirus disease (Covid-19) with at least one booster shot will no longer be required to present the results of an RT-PCR test or a rapid antigen test for entry to the province, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia announced on Tuesday, May 31, 2022.

Such foreign nationals would just need to present proof of vaccination permitted by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, have valid tickets for their return journey to the port of origin or next port of destination not later than 30 days from arrival in the Philippines, and have passports valid for at least six months at the time of their arrival in the Philippines.

The guidelines are contained in Executive Order (EO) 15, s. of 2022, issued by the governor on Tuesday.

The EO adopts IATF Resolution 168, s. of 2022.

Fully vaccinated travelers without booster shots, as well as partially vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers still need to present negative results of an RT-PCR or rapid Antigen test, with the partially vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers additionally subjected to a swab test upon arrival and facility-based quarantine until the release of their second RT-PCR test result taken on the fifth day.

Garcia is optimistic about the growth of tourism in the province with the easing of restrictions on visitors from other countries.

“I am very positive and optimistic that our international arrivals will soon be rapidly increasing,” Garcia said.

Garcia said domestic flights were already slowly recovering but that international flights were still few.

Her new order would greatly help in encouraging the return of international travel.

“Yesterday I had a meeting with DOH (Department of Health, BOQ (Bureau of Quarantine), including MCIAA (Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority) and GMCAC (GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corp.), the domestic flights have gone up to 58 percent, while international flights are still below 10. But that is foreseen to change by the first day of June when there would be more flights coming in... By June, I believe Japan will be lifting their ban, their restrictions and by July will be Korea or South Korea. You know South Korea is our number one in foreign tourist arrivals here in Cebu,” said Garcia.

Amid the ongoing pandemic, Garcia continues to promote tourism in the province as a way to revive Cebu’s economy.

“But as it is, I have been going around the province. I have been asking our stakeholders in the tourism sector. As far as our resorts are concerned, the bookings are really comfortable now,” Garcia said.

The Province of Cebu remains under Alert level 2. But there are already seven localities--Talisay City, Alcoy, Borbon, Oslob, Pilar, Santander and Tudela--that have been deescalated to the least restrictive Alert Level 1.

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