As gov’t eases restrictions, PH Red Cross pushes for regular COVID-19 testing

Published July 6, 2021, 4:06 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) on Tuesday, July 6, pushed for regular coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing after the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) relaxed its restriction by not requiring Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing for interzonal travel for fully-vaccinated persons.

The Philippine Red Cross pushes for regular testing as IATF eases restrictions (JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Kailangan patuloy parin ang ating pagte-test upang maihiwalay ang mga healthy individuals sa mga apektado ng COVID-19 (We still need to continue testing to separate healthy individuals from those affected by COVID-19),” PRC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Senator Richard Gordon said.

The PRC remains the leading organization for COVID-19 testing in the country. To date, it has conducted 3,382,981 tests nationwide which makes up 23 percent of the total tests done nationwide.

“To beat this virus, we need to test regularly, isolate and treat the affected individuals, and vaccinate, so that people can safely return to work, can now go back to school, and the faster we can open our economy,” Gordon said.

Citing Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, PRC noted that under IATF Resolution 124-B, interzonal travelers who are fully vaccinated individuals are now only required to present proof of complete COVID-19 vaccination instead of COVID-19 test results.

PRC also noted that for interzonal travel allowed by the task force, a fully vaccinated individual, regardless of age, may now present the vaccination card instead of complying with a local government unit COVID-19 testing requirement.

A person is considered fully vaccinated after at least two weeks since receiving the second shot of a two-dose vaccine or the first of a single-dose brand.

However, Gordon reiterated that even a fully vaccinated person is still a potential carrier of COVID-19 and there is a “high possibility to infect the unvaccinated.”