By J. Jala, Marisol Bo-oc | 8:05 PM July 08, 2021
The provincial government of Bohol is retaining its RT-PCR requirement for tourists even those fully inoculated amid concerns about easy-to-tamper vaccination cards.
Dr. Cesar Tomas Lopez, spokesperson of the Bohol Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF), said it was possible for fully vaccinated individuals to still be carrying SARS Cov2, the virus that causes COVID-19, or its variants.
Lopez said there is a high risk of getting fake vaccination cards because even RT-PCR test results have been tampered with before.
The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday clarified that local government units (LGUs) can still require fully-vaccinated travelers a negative swab test result as requirement for entry into their jurisdictions.
In an advisory, the health department said the previous resolution allowing LGUs to require travelers to present a negative reverse transmission polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result as entry requirement remains in effect, as they iron out the pandemic task force’s new protocol.
Last week, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) approved IATF Resolution No. 124-B allowing vaccination cards as sufficient alternatives to any testing requirements before travel or upon arrival at LGU of destination.
The DOH stressed it has never advocated for antigen testing as a requirement for travel, citing IATF Resolution No. 101 that the testing requirement should only be limited to RT-PCR results.
“Further, antigen testing is never recommended for border control purposes,” it added.
The DOH maintained that symptom and exposure screening complemented by robust contact tracing are the most effective interzonal border control measures.