Davao, Zambo scrap RT-PCR travel requisite

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 16 November) – Air, sea and land passengers will not be required anymore to present a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test results upon arrival here effective Tuesday until January 15, 2022, Mayor Sara Duterte said.

In Zamboanga City, airline passengers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are also exempted from presenting a negative RT-PCR test result effective Tuesday.

Duterte issued Monday Executive Order 66, removing the requirement on a negative swab test result taken within 24 to 72 hours before their scheduled arrival to the city.

The order effectively suspended the implementation of City Ordinance No. 0477-21, known as the “Ordinance Providing for Mandatory Testing Prior to Entry into Davao City via Davao International Airport,” after the city has been placed under Alert Level 2 from Alert Level 3 starting November 15 until 30.

“There is a need to provide a new guideline for travelers by land, sea or air travel, both domestic and international, following the decrease in the number of cases reported and the active vaccination rollout within the city,” the order said.

Section 1 provides that all travelers entering the city by land and all arriving domestic travelers by sea and air shall no longer be required to present their 24-72 hours negative RT-PCR test results.

It added that “no document shall be required for entry into Davao City, except for security checks that may be required by the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PNP (Philippine National Police) personnel, for the purposes of anti-crime, anti-illegal drugs and anti-terrorism operations.”

Under Section 2, all passengers by international air travel arriving in the city, including those international passengers arriving through connecting flights, shall comply with the requirements and guidelines provided by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Diseases (IATF-MEID).

As cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) decreased significantly, Duterte told Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) that there is a need to ease some restrictions, as the local government allows the gradual opening up of the city again after nearly two years of the pandemic.

In Zamboanga City, Elmeir Jade Apolinario, Inter-Agency Task Force chief implementer, said that inbound and outbound airline passengers who are fully-vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer need to present a negative RT-PCR test result.

According to him, the reckoning date for full vaccination is 14 days after the second dose for the two-dose vaccines, and also 14 days for the single-dose Janssen vaccine.

However, fully vaccinated passengers from areas under Alert Level 4 will be required to present a negative anti-gen test results from government-accredited laboratories within 24 hours from travel.

Apolinario said that travelers who are not vaccinated are required to present a negative RT-PCR test result.

All airline passengers coming into the city need to secure the S-Pass permit from the City Tourism Office, he added. (Antonio L. Colina IV in Davao City and Frencie Carreon in Zamboanga City / MindaNews)