DOT anticipates more local tourists in Baguio City as city adopts antigen testing
This September 2020 photo shows The Mansion in Baguio City.
Baguio Information Office/Neil Clark Ongchangco
DOT anticipates more local tourists in Baguio City as city adopts antigen testing
Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - October 3, 2020 - 6:56pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism said that it sees domestic tourism boom in one of the country’s top tourist destinations, Baguio City, after it has adopted the antigen testing as a way to determine if the visitors are COVID-19-free.

In its Resolution No. 73, the Inter-Agency Task Force on Infectious Disease allowed antigen testing and other COVID-19 testing methods to be used on domestic tourists, including authorized and essential travelers.

The DOT said Baguio runs parallel with Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction tests (RT-PCR) for comparison. 

The Department of Health chose Baguio City to pilot use the rapid antigen test for its model performance in contact tracing and containment of the COVID-19.

Antigen test collects and uses swab samples to test and determine the current and active infection in the person just like the RT-PCR test, but results come in within approximately 15 minutes. RT-PCR test results take around two to three days to process.

The tourism department said Baguio results will help determine if antigen tests can be used as an official test or whether testing can be done in the earliest stages of infection.  

Baguio City was chosen by the DOH for pilot use of the rapid antigen test for its model performance in contact tracing and containment of the COVID-19. 

In a meeting with the city managers last September 24, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the DOT committed to provide P1.8 million for the pilot testing of antigen.

Magalong said the reopening of tourism in the City of Pines “is a calibrated and deliberate move after consultations with the stakeholders, the community and the health sector. We will never compromise the health and safety of our constituents and visitors.”

“That is why we are working on the principle of safe, sure and responsible travel," he said.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, on the other hand, welcomed the adoption of the antigen testing.

"Together with the World Health Organization, the Department of Health and Baguio City, we support the piloting of the antigen testing so that Filipinos are encouraged to travel using a more affordable test with instant results," she said.

Puyat cited that the antigen testing is anticipated to increase in the number of leisure trips and commuter traffic within the region. It plans to reopen Baguio City and the provinces of La Union, Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte this month

"Faster and cheaper, antigen testing will benefit potential visitors of the city now that the Ridge and Reef Travel Corridor is in full swing," the tourism chief said.

BAGUIO CITY BENJAMIN MAGALONG BERNADETTE ROMULO-PUYAT DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM NEW NORMAL NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
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