ANTIGEN TEST. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque holds a press briefing on Boracay Island on Monday (Oct. 5, 2020). Roque said rapid antigen tests will be used in Boracay and other areas if the pilot use in Baguio City is successful. (Screenshot)
MANILA – Malacañang on Monday said the rapid antigen test will be used in Boracay and other areas if the pilot use in Baguio City would be a success.
In a press briefing from Boracay, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he already raised the suggestion to allow the pilot use of the rapid antigen test in Boracay, which is currently free from the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
However, he said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) decided to allow rapid antigen tests in other areas once Baguio City finishes its pilot use.
“Ang naging desisyon po, tapusin na muna iyong pilot (use) sa Baguio, at kung maging tagumpay iyan, ia-apply naman po iyan sa ibang mga tourist destinations kagaya ng Boracay (The decision of the IATF is to finish the pilot use in Baguio and if it succeeds, they can also apply that in other tourist destinations like Boracay),” he said.
Roque also allayed concerns that only a few tourists have started booking trips to Boracay due to the long waiting time needed after undergoing reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests.
He said Boracay has put in place health and safety measures to ensure that visitors are safe from contracting Covid-19.
Travelers will be subject to the test-before-travel regulation that requires a negative RT-PCR result 48 to 72 hours prior to departure.
Airlines are required to land at the Godofredo R. Ramos Airport in Caticlan in Malay town, the only airport of entry for moving tourists to the island.
Aklan Gov. Florencio Miraflores, in the same press briefing, said at least 53 tourists have arrived in Boracay as of Oct. 3.
He, meanwhile, expressed hope that more tourists would be visiting in the coming days.
Last month, the IATF adopted the protocols on the pilot use of rapid antigen tests in Baguio City, which has started welcoming tourists.
Antigen tests, which also use swab samples, can reveal or detect if a person is infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Compared to RT-PCR tests, it only takes 15 to 30 minutes to show results.
The World Health Organization recommended the use of antigen tests in case of unavailability of RT-PCR tests, congregate settings, or outbreaks. (PNA)