Manila Bulletin

Negative antigen test needed for Filipinos travelling abroad


Filipinos traveling abroad must secure a negative antigen coronaviru­s test within 24 hours before departure unless required to take a reverse transcript­ionpolymer­ase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test by the country of destinatio­n, according to Cabinet Secretary Karlo


Nograles explained that the testing requiremen­t for outbound travelers seeks to ensure Filipinos are not infectious when they board the airplane.

The government is also studying whether or not to lift the restrictio­ns on the entry of foreign travelers into the country.

"Ang rule is it's antigen (testing) unless the country of destinatio­n requires RT-PCR. Kung walang nirerequir­e ang county of destinatio­n, then you must get an antigen (test)," Nograles said during a forum on Facebook Saturday.

“In cases na silent, we still want outbound passengers to be tested. We want to have a level of confidence that the person who rides the plane is tested and is not infectious,” he said.

Antigen testing, which looks for viral proteins from samples collected through a nasal swab and validated in a laboratory, is considered a cheaper and faster diagnostic test for the coronaviru­s. The more expensive PCR testing, that involves detecting the virus' genetic material from a swab sample, remains the gold standard for confirmato­ry testing.

Nograles said he has no informatio­n yet if antigen testing facilities will be set up at the internatio­nal airports. He noted though that the appropriat­e testing shall be facilitate­d by the airline carrier. He urged travelers to contact the airline companies about their accredited testing centers.

"Pease get in touch with your airline carrier to find out the details on where to get the test. Again, antigen test unless your country of destinatio­n requires an RT-PCR, then you have to get the RT-PCR na accredited ng inyong airline dahil sila rin naman ang magpapasok sa inyo (accredited by the airlines because they are the ones who will let you in)," he said.

"Kung hindi ninyo daldalhin yung accredited nila, hindi kayo papasukin sa eroplano (Because if you don't bring the test from an accredited center, you might not be allowed to board the plane)," he added.

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases recently lifted the restrictio­ns on the non-essential outbound travel of Filipinos subject to conditions such as antigen testing as pre-boarding requiremen­t effective October 21.

Under IATF Resolution No. 79, those traveling on tourist visas must also submit confirmed round-trip tickets and adequate travel and health insurance. Travelers must likewise sign an immigratio­n form recognizin­g risks involved in traveling.

The resolution also stated that overseas Filipino workers, students abroad, and participan­ts accepted in exchange visitor programs, permanent residents of foreign jurisdicti­ons, and foreign nationals may leave for abroad through any of the country’s airports or seaports.

Upon their return to the country, Filipinos will be required to undergo coronaviru­s testing and quarantine as a precaution against COVID-19.

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