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Thursday, October 21, 2021
MANILA

IATF eases travel protocol, issues uniform rules

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TRAVELERS will no longer be mandated to undergo a Covid-19 test except when required by the local government unit (LGU) of their destination, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases said.

No traveler will be required to undergo quarantine unless he or she manifests symptoms of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) upon arrival.

These new rules are contained in Resolution No. 101, which the IATF approved on Friday, February 26, 2021 to standardize travel protocols for land, air and sea.

The IATF also removed the documentary requirements for travelers.

There will no longer be a need for a travel authority from the Joint Task Force Covid Shield.

Health certificates will also no longer be required.

Authorized persons outside residence (Apor) from national government agencies and their attached agencies need only present their identification card, travel order and travel itinerary.

They must also pass screening for symptoms at ports of entry and exit.

If an LGU will still require a Covid-19 test, this will be limited to the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), the resolution also stated.

Some rules remain

The IATF, however, reiterated the need to strictly implement minimum public health standards such as wearing of face masks and face shields, physical distancing, hand hygiene and cough etiquette in all settings.

There will still be clinical and exposure assessment in all ports of entry and exit.

“Health assessment of passengers, supervised by medical doctors, shall be mandatory upon entry in the port/terminal and exit at point of destination,” the IATF added.

All terminals must have designated sufficient quarantine or isolation facilities.

There must be a referral system in place so that travelers who show symptoms of Covid-19 are transferred to quarantine or isolation facilities.

The Bureau of Quarantine will then take over if the patient undergoes isolation in the airport while local health officials will be in charge if the patient is brought to a local isolation facility.

Transport

All buses in the National Capital Region (NCR) that are bound for the provinces will be required to use the Integrated Terminal Exchange.

“No bus company or public transport shall be allowed use of their private terminals,” the IATF said.

LGUs may provide transportation for travelers in transit from one LGU to another.

Meanwhile, travelers will still be required to fill up contact tracing forms.

At airports, travelers must download the Traze app, which will be integrated into the StaySafe.ph system together with other contact tracing applications.

StaySafe.ph will be the primary contact tracing system while the Safe, Swift, and Smart Passage (S-PaSS) travel management system will be institutionalized as the one-stop-shop application/ communication for travelers.

The IATF said these revised rules will apply to all LGUs, but may be refined or amended jointly by the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Health, Department of Tourism, Department of Transportation, Department of Science and Technology and the Philippine National Police.

Travel rules were relaxed by the IATF less than a week after Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia issued an executive order that pioneered the removal of the Covid-19 test requirement for local tourists.

Under EO 12, tourists visiting Cebu Province are required only to submit a valid medical certificate issued by a reputable doctor within seven days before the trip and proof of room reservation.

The tourist must also pass screening for Covid-19 symptoms at the points of departure and arrival. (Marites Villamor-Ilano / SunStar Philippines)


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