Tourism chief pushes for COVID-19 tests price cap for tourism revival
In this May 2018 file photo, newly appointed Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat answers questions from the media during a press conference at the Department of Tourism office in Makati City yesterday.
The STAR/Miguel De Guzman

Tourism chief pushes for COVID-19 tests price cap for tourism revival

Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - October 28, 2020 - 9:50pm

MANILA, Philippines — Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat on Tuesday sought for a price cap on the real-time Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) or the RT-PCR swab confirmatory test and Antigen tests for COVID-19 to boost the reopening of tourism.

“The DOT (Department of Tourism) supports the call to impose a price cap on RT-PCR and Antigen testing to make traveling an affordable option for all,” she said.

Puyat made the appeal after the Inter-agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) eased travel restrictions in areas under the general community quarantine phase and allowed travel for leisure.

Prior to this, Puyat welcomed the announcement of reopening of several tourist destinations to areas under GCQ including Boracay, Baguio City, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Batangas, El Nido, among others.

Other areas for that are now open for travel and who are allowed to travel in these areas are indicated in the DOT’s travel safe website.  

The tourism chief earlier stressed that securing a negative result test is still required as part of the agency’s “test before travel” policy.

In view of this, Puyat is seeking a price cap for COVID-19 tests.

“While the DOT acknowledges and puts paramount importance on the safety of visitors, locals, and the tourism workforce, the Department likewise finds it imperative to address the urgent need to impose a price cap on these accepted COVID-19 testing methods to promote domestic tourism, which in turn can generate employment and stimulate economic recovery,” she said.

Puyat has likewise appealed to Department of Health (DOH)-accredited testing facilities to make the RT-PCR and Antigen tests more affordable but credible.

The IATF-EID has earlier authorized the DOT to take the helm in accrediting procedures, facilities, and activities, as well as set determining operating capacities for tourism establishments in pursuant of Resolution No. 79.

This resolution indicates the relaxed interzonal and intrazonal travel restrictions and prescribed minimum health standards amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last month, the DOH also sought for the ceiling on the prices of RT-PCR test for COVID-19.

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