DOH to revise guidelines on antigen tests for domestic travelers

Published September 14, 2020, 3:11 PM

by Betheena Unite

The Department of Health said Monday that it will revise its guidelines in using antigen tests to detect COVID-19 after the World Health Organization (WHO) discouraged its use for travelers.

Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire
Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they will present not later than Thursday the revised version of the guidelines in using antigen tests following a recommendation from the WHO that “it is not advisable to use it on borders for screening.”

Last week, the government task force handling the pandemic response had ordered the Health department to allow the use of antigen testing for domestic travelers. However, with the new recommendation from WHO, the DOH will come up with revised guidelines.

“Katulad ng sabi namin (Like what we always say), every day this is an evolving situation, very dynamic because of the new evidence that is coming out (is) changing. We will revise it again and will conduct a series of consultations. We need to present again to IATF (interagency task force) this revised version as a result of (the) recommendation from WHO,” Vergeire said.

“If we can present by tomorrow or Thursday, by early next we can issue the omnibus guidelines,” she added.

Meanwhile, the WHO solidarity trials for vaccines in the country are being eyed to start during the third or fourth week of October.

“(On the) WHO solidarity trials for vaccines, like what I told you last Friday, they will release a list of vaccines that will be initially included,” Vergeire said.

The Health department also welcomed the Metro Manila mayors decision to close all cemeteries in the region during the All Saints’ and Souls’ Days this year to prevent mass gatherings in cemeteries.

“What the NCR mayors did is actually a good practice, because we are aware that during ‘Undas’, cemeteries are crowded. And that is (a) mass gathering already that we would like to prevent,” Vergeire said.