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Get set for summer: IATF lifts mandatory COVID-19 testing—unless your destination’s LGU requires it

By JUSTINE PUNZALAN Published Feb 27, 2021 5:38 am Updated Mar 01, 2021 1:10 am

Biyaheros can now get back to chasing their wanderlust, as the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has approved uniform, less restrictive travel protocols for all local government units (LGUs) in the country.

In a virtual presser on Saturday, Feb. 27, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque announced that under Resolution No. 101 issued by the IATF,  COVID-19 testing and quarantine is “no longer required for local travel”—UNLESS the LGU requires it. 

Under the testing and quaratine section, the resolution states that “Testing shall not be mandatory for traveler except if the LGU of destination (province with respect to their municipalities and component cities, and highly urbanized cities [HUCs] and independent component cities [ICCs]) will require testing as a requirement prior to travel, and such shall be limited to RT-PCR. And no traveler shall be required to undergo quarantine unless they exhibit symptoms upon arrival at the LGU of destination.”

In addition to that, travelers are no longer required to present a travel authority or health certificate. “On documentary requirements, the travel authority issued by the Joint Task Force Covid Shield and health certificates shall no longer be required,” Roque said. 

“Clinical and exposure assessment shall be strictly implemented in all ports of entry and exit while health assessment of passengers, supervised by medical doctors, shall be mandatory upon entry in the port/terminal and exit at point of destination,” Roque added. 

The Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) Safe, Swift, and Smart Passage (S-PaSS) Travel Management System will now be institutionalized as the “one-stop shop application or communication” for travelers, while StaySafe.ph will be used as the “primary contact tracing system.” 

Roque said that the uniform travel protocols were crafted by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for land, air, and sea travel, and need to be observed by all LGUs.

Although the protocols are eased, the government urges all travelers and LGUs to continue following minimum health standards.

“Authorities shall continue to strictly implement the minimum public health standards, such as physical distancing, hand hygiene, cough etiquette, and the wearing of face masks and face shields across all settings,” Roque said.