Travelers entering the Philippines will now be allowed to use rapid antigen tests as an entry requirement instead as long as they are performed by healthcare professionals from the country of origin, Malacañang announced.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar made this announcement as the country further eases Covid-19 restrictions.
In a statement late, Andanar said that the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases approved this recommendation during its meeting on Wednesday night, April 6.
The use of rapid antigen tests for entry requirements in the Philippines will be allowed as long as they are administered and certified by a healthcare professional in a healthcare facility, laboratory, clinic, pharmacy, or other similar establishments from the traveler's country of origin.
Initially, the government required international travelers to present a negative Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test taken within 48 hours before their flight to the Philippines, among other requirements.
Last month, the IATF eased the testing requirements to allow travelers to present a negative Antigen test taken within 24 hours before their flight.
The IATF has allowed the entry to the Philippines of fully vaccinated travelers from all countries on March 25.
Meanwhile, Andanar said the Philippines is now accepting and recognizing the national Covid-19 vaccination certificates of Bangladesh, Mexico, Pakistan, and the Slovak Republic, for purposes of arrival quarantine protocols, as well as for interzonal/intrazonal movement.
"This is in addition to other countries/territories/jurisdictions whose proofs of vaccination the IATF has already approved for recognition in the Philippines, and without prejudice to such other proofs of vaccination approved by the IATF for all inbound travelers," he said.
The Bureau of Quarantine, the Department of Transportation - One-Stop-Shop, and the Bureau of Immigration are directed to recognize only the proofs of vaccination thus approved by the IATF.
To date, the country recognizes the vaccination certificates as sufficient proof of vaccination of 73 countries/territories/jurisdictions.