BACOLOD CITY – The Negros Occidental provincial government has started accepting coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccination cards as a sufficient alternative to any testing requirement for the entry of fully inoculated interzonal travelers to the province.
Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz II said on Thursday that about 50 persons have been granted travel pass into Negros Occidental, which is currently under general community quarantine status, using their vaccination cards as of Wednesday.
“We (are) already implementing Executive Order (EO) 21-34 signed by Governor (Eugenio Jose) Lacson,” he said.
EO 21-34, series of 2021 issued by Lacson on July 6 adopts the salient points of the Guidelines and Protocols for Fully Vaccinated Individuals under the national Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Resolution 124-B, series of 2021.
“It is already effective. As a matter of fact, there were those who submitted to us their vaccination cards when they applied for S-PaSS vaccination and they were approved entry to Negros Occidental,” Diaz said.
S-PaSS or Safe, Swift and Smart Passage is a one-stop online communication and coordination platform for travelers and local government units (LGUs).
According to the IATF-EID, a fully vaccinated individual is someone who has more than or equal to two weeks after having received the second dose in a two-dose vaccine; or more than or equal to two weeks after having received a single-dose vaccine.
Despite the issuance of IATF Resolution 124-B, the Department of Health on Wednesday clarified that LGUs can still require fully vaccinated travelers a negative swab test result as a requirement for entry into their jurisdictions.
It said in an advisory that the previous resolution allowing LGUs to require travelers to present a negative reverse transmission polymerase chain reaction or RT-PCR test result as entry requirement remains in effect, as they iron out the pandemic task force’s new protocol.
Still, Diaz said that unless there is a directive from the Department of the Interior and Local Government or the IATF-EID stating that Negros Occidental withdraw EO 21-34, the provincial government will continue to implement it.
Interzonal travel is the movement of people, goods, and services across areas placed under different community quarantine classifications. (PNA)