PH allows use of antigen tests administered by healthcare professionals as entry requirement

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 7) — The Philippines is now allowing the use of rapid antigen tests as an entry requirement for travelers, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) announced on Wednesday.

In a statement, the IATF said the test should 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."

Prior to this, an RT-PCR test, which is considered to be the gold standard for COVID-19 testing, is one of the entry requirements for travelers.

The IATF also added Bangladesh, Mexico, Panama, and Slovak Republic to the list of countries whose COVID-19 vaccination certificates are accepted and recognized by the Philippines.

READ: LIST: COVID-19 vaccination certificates of other countries that PH accepts

"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," the task force said.

The Bureau of Quarantine, the Department of Transportation - One-Stop-Shop, and the Bureau of Immigration were also told to recognize only the proofs of vaccination approved by the IATF.

This development comes amid the possible threat of the more contagious Omicron XE, a case of which has been recorded in neighboring country Thailand. The Department of Health has assured it is in close coordination with the World Health Organization and other Philippine authorities regarding the matter.

Meanwhile, presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said he does not see the need to push for travel restrictions

"If you’re fully vaccinated and boosted [you are protected]. You cannot prevent these variants from coming in ‘no, the best you can do is to prepare for it. And nakita naman natin eh (we saw), those who have the vaccination, [they already have immunity] or natural immunity, maski nahawa sila (even if they do get infected) it is very mild and prevents hospitalization," he said in a briefing Wednesday.