Ilocos Norte eases travel rules for returning residents

Ilocos Norte eases travel rules for returning residents

LAOAG CITY – The Ilocos Norte provincial government on Thursday updated its travel guidelines as it scrapped quarantine for returning residents who are compliant with coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) testing requirements.

In an advisory, it said returning residents must present a proof of acceptance from the destination and a negative Covid-19 swab test result must still be shown at checkpoints, regardless of vaccination status.

Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc earlier said the loosening of border and quarantine protocols is a “risky decision” but he has to find balance with the ongoing situation.

Compared to other provinces, Manotoc said Ilocos Norte remains to be one of the safest places to visit in this time of the pandemic.

The latest data from the provincial government showed that at least 75 percent of tourism workers in the province are now fully vaccinated.

Since the last week of September, leisure tourists have started to arrive in the province, spending a day or two in the pristine beaches of Pagudpud.

Based on local guidelines, a negative antigen test result is required for those coming from areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) or modified GCQ areas, and those under Alert Levels 1, 2 and 3.

Non-residents coming from Alert Level 4 areas are required to present a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test results taken within 72 hours before their travel, regardless of vaccination status.

To date, Ilocos Norte’s Covid-19 active cases are down to 11 new cases, with 45 new recoveries and more are expected to be discharged in the coming days.

Along with the continuing administration of vaccines in various parts of the province, the provincial government is also conducting a more aggressive method of contact tracing and containment, thus isolating patients even before subjecting them to confirmatory tests.

As of October 11, a total of 326,828 vaccines have been administered and 137,251 individuals have been fully vaccinated. (PNA)

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